BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — For the first time since 2001, the Shady Spring Tigers mens’ basketball team is the Region III Section 1 champions. They took home the trophy after defeating Westside High School 85-50.
While most would not call the game a nail biter, Head Coach Ronnie Olson said he could not hold back his emotions as the buzzer went off.
At this point in the 2020 postseason, Shady Spring built momentum as they pushed to states, but they saw their run to Charleston cut short by the pandemic. Both Olson and his guys said they felt they needed to win this game for the former Tigers who did not get the chance.
“It means everything because we feel like it was unfinished business. We did this for everyone who has played from the beginning of my first year all the way to here,” said Olson.
“A couple of the seniors on the team last year are my best friends and it was sad seeing them not be able to do it, so I wanted to come out there and do it for them,” said Todd Duncan, a senior at Shady Spring.
The Tigers saw several of their final regular season games canceled due to coronavirus concerns, but instead of flashbacks from the prior season, Coach Olson said his guys only saw an opportunity to stay safe and get better.
“I just think the hunger that these kids had coming in to tonight, we knew 20 years had been waiting and we just came in and took it tonight,” said Olson.
With only one senior on the team, Olson said he could not be more proud of Todd Duncan.
“He lead the team tonight just not in scoring, but vocally with Cole and Braden Chapman and Todd, I am just so proud of him,” said Olson.
Olson said now the goal is to end his lone senior’s career by hoisting the state trophy in Charleston.
The Tigers host the Region III finals at the Beckley Raleigh County Convention center on April 27, 2021.