CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — For the first time in program history the Shady Spring Tigers are Class AAA state champions.
After fighting through the doubters, through the pandemic, through every roadblock in their way.
While it was a close game until the final buzzer, all the Tigers hard work finally paid off. Head coach Ronnie Olson said the feeling and the meaning behind it are indescribable.
“That right there is a true reflection of our season. We can do it either way we can grind you out or we can get up and down the floor and shoot threes. I think that is a true reflection of us and I say that every day. State champs is all I gotta say, state champs,” said Olson.
He said it is more than just a win for the seventeen coaches and players on the team it was also a win for those who did not get the chance to compete last year.
“It was more than a win, this is just character, We are gonna be brothers forever, I love my kids when they graduate from my program. I love all of them,” said Olson.
“Feels great after last year what happened just getting back and doing this for them and winning it for them,” said Braden Chapman, a Shady Spring sophomore.
After the loss of Dwayne Richardson just days before the tournament began, Olson said this game has even more meaning for his team and the entire community.
“I know that is Todd’s personal and really close friend. That’s why he wore number twelve. I mean we talked about it. I have children as a father that is just awful. As a community I think that has rallied us as Beckley, Shady I think it has brought us together with everything going on,” said Olson.
“We might be rivals but we are all family at the end of the day,” said Chapman.
Todd Duncan, Braden Chapman and Cole Chapman made the all tournament team. The three Tigers put everything on the line, playing almost the entire title game.
While Duncan briefly sat out after colliding with a defender, he said nothing was going to keep him off of the court to end his career on his terms.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better. This is all I wanted, was to end my senior season with a state title and they are gonna be back here the next year and the year after and Shady is building a future here,” said Duncan.
As for Coach Olson and the outfit he wore since the beginning of sectionals, he said he will finally wash it, but he does not plan on hanging it up for long.
“I am going to keep these on standby when we come up here and make another run at it trying to make a back to back state title,” said Ronnie Olson.