CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — For the first time since 1994, the Shady Spring Tigers earned a trip to Charleston after claiming the title in both the section and the region.
The Tigers were in this position once before and knew what was at stake.
“I mean just watching all these former teams not be able to get up here, it motivates us to get up here and we got our dub,” said Braden Chapman, who had 13 points in the game.
Coming in as the three seed, they looked to win their first state tournament game in program history, as they went up against number six Herbert Hoover.
To get to Charleston, Herbert Hoover took down Westside in the region three co-final. When a handful of Westside players tested positive, all but two Huskies starters were unable to play as they had to quarantine due to contact tracing. The Huskies dressed nearly their entire junior varsity team.
“It was going to be an uphill battle the whole way. You can either lay down or fight and obviously you saw that they fought and they didn’t quit until the buzzer sound, so I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Josh Strick, Herbert Hoover Mens’ head basketball coach.
Shady Spring Head Coach Ronnie Olson said it did not matter what type of team they saw in their first game, they felt like they had something to prove,
“We worked too hard to get here. For anybody to discredit what we did or what we had, so as a team and as a group we took that personal,” said Olson.
Shady Spring put together an early run, thanks to five three pointers from Todd Duncan in just the first half. Duncan was hot and stayed hot in his first state tournament appearance.
The Tigers did not let off the gas as they went into halftime with a 44 point lead. Coach Olson said he never worries about his guys slowing down.
“That’s not in our DNA. That’s not who we are, we don’t get complacent. We can get beat, but we won’t get complacent,” said Olson.
And they did not get complacent, or get beat.
The Chapman brothers and Duncan lead the tigers to their first state tournament victory in program history. After not getting a chance last year, Coach Olson said he and his team have one thing on their mind.
“We don’t care who wins. These guys only have one goal, if we win great, but our only goal is to win a championship,” said Olson.
In the final minutes of the game Cole Chapman tied the AAA record for most assists in a single game with 12. His double double performance helped the Tigers roll past Herbert Hoover,
The Tigers take on Winfield in the semifinals, where Coach Olson will be wearing a familiar outfit.
“Yeah I haven’t changed since sectionals, but it’s a superstitious thing and hopefully I can wear it on Saturday as well,” said Olson.