Austin Herman battles around a Sedgwick County player as he heads to the basket. The senior led the team scoring effort Saturday with 15 points. —Johnson Publications
With Sedgwick County defenders on both sides, Gunnar Kroeger pops up a 3-point attempt in the second half of Saturday’s game. —Johnson Publications
Dragons are #1 in Colo. 2A
After winning once and losing once in regular season to Sedgwick County, Holyoke’s neighbor to the north, and falling in the district championship to the team two weeks prior, the Dragon boys were both hungry and ready to hunt as the rivals faced off in the 2A classification state championship showdown.
Saturday, March 11, at Loveland’s Budweiser Events Center, that hunger was finally satisfied as Holyoke defeated the Cougars 44-41 for the Colorado 2A state title.
“In my book, this was the best game that our guys played all season long,” said coach Scott Dille. The No. 1-ranked Sedgwick County team was certainly a force to be reckoned with, but one that the Dragons knew well, having played them at least 13 times over the past four years, according to the coach.
Those 13 games have included plenty of big ones — at the state level, Holyoke lost to Sedgwick County in 2016 for fourth place at the state level, and defeated the team in 2014 for fifth in the state.
Saturday, in front of over 3,000 fans, including family, friends and past Holyoke basketball alumni, the Dragon boys were at their peak.
“This group of guys worked so hard and were so focused all season long, and it was awesome that it ended the way it did,” said Dille, taking note of the incredible fan support at the big game. “This was a very fitting ending for not only this season, but to an incredible four-year run.”
While not all seniors played varsity all four years, the team has seen four straight trips to the state tournament, bringing home fifth-place finishes in 2014 and 2015 and a fourth in 2016.
“We (the coaches) have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with this group of young men that have acted so selflessly and have worked so hard to get to where they are at,” said Dille. “The sky is the limit for this group.”
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