When it comes to boys' basketball, Ocosta High School is admittedly not at the top of the list of successful programs. Long considered a doormat in our league where teams would go to get an easy win, it was difficult to keep spirits and interest high.
Throughout our schools history there had only been one state championship team and that was all the way back in 1971. From there until 2015, a span of 44 years, no team had made it out of even the district tournament. Since 1991, no team had even won a district GAME.
Suffice to say, we faced a fair amount of history going into last season. The year began without much promise, as though it would be just like any other, with the team sputtering to a 4-5 record. From that point on however, the stars aligned and the team pulled off one of the best stretches of Ocosta Basketball in recent history. Closing the regular season 10-1, we shot up the standings to second place and were able to host a district playoff game for the first time in school history.
From there, it was a roller coaster ride through districts. In the opener, on our home court, we were upset in overtime and immediately sent into the loser’s bracket. It seemed that despite our fantastic finish to the season and having all the momentum on our side, we were destined to suffer the same fate as the teams that came before us. Going into our next game, we were matched up with a team we had played twice that year and split the games. We knew we had a chance and that was all that we needed. It came down to the wire, but in the end we pulled it off and won our schools first district game in 24 years.
From there it was only two more wins until we could play beyond districts, in Regionals, and erase the stain of the past 44 years. We won both of the games we needed to despite being behind at half time of both games. When we clinched a berth in Regionals it was as if a great weight had been lifted from our shoulders.
Playing in Regionals was like nothing else I had ever participated in. The atmosphere was electric as soon as we walked in the gym and there were more people there to watch the game than lived in our entire hometown. Although our season ended in heartbreak, one step short of a state berth, playing in Regionals and accomplishing something that people in our town had not seen in generations is something my whole team and I will carry with us for the rest of our lives as a great memory and experience.
This season we have continued our winning ways, starting the season 18-1. This is the greatest record to start a season in school history and it could not have been accomplished without the experience we gained last season. We are hungry for more and are looking forward to taking the next step towards a state championship this season.