Christiansburg High players reflect on state title victory
The exact date may be a bit fuzzy, but the general consensus among the Group AA boys’ basketball state champions is that they have been together forever.
The majority of the Christiansburg High School boys basketball players trace their friendships back to elementary school.
The group has grown up together on the fields and courts in and around Christiansburg. They reached the state semifinals in both football and basketball during the 2010-11 school year and helped Christiansburg make its first appearance in school history in the football state final this year, which ended with a 28-26 loss to Briar Woods.
The group returned to the finals March 10, this time on the court, and in their last opportunity to do so together, sealed their legacy with a 70-69 overtime victory over Grafton.
We talked with each member of the team, as well as a few coaches, as they reflected on what bring a state title means to Christiansburg.
Dee Kelly, senior: “It’s very special. It means a lot to finally win something. We’ve been trying in football and basketball since our junior year, so it means a lot to finally get it…Honestly, it hasn’t kicked in to a bunch of us that we’ve actually won state…We were excited to a bunch of people from back here supporting us that came to the game.”
Ervin Buchannon, senior: “It’s like a bunch of stress coming off your shoulders because we just talked about it since we were 9 and 10 playing in the back yard…We’ve been talking about it since we was probably in elementary [school]. The only word I can think of is, totally awesome.”
Johnathan Galante, senior: “I feel like it means twice as much as it normally would because of what happened with football, because it’s pretty much the same group of guys who went out for football…It feels twice as good as it normally would, knowing that a season later you can get the state championship we almost had…Same feeling, just a different ball on a court.”
Jordan Price, senior: It means a lot…Pretty much the whole basketball team, we’re all friends. Whenever we’re out of school, that’s who we’re hanging out with. It’s kind of good because we won it for the first time in school history with this group.”
Zach Davis, senior: “It’s always been our goal since we were little. Even when we were little and we were on separate teams, we didn’t really come together til fourth- or fifth- grade and since then, it’s always been our dream. There’s not a better group honestly that it could have happened to. I mean, I love these dudes to death.
Kam Johnson, senior: It means a lot, especially since we did it with our best friends. It’s something we can remember for the rest of our lives, and we’re going to be connected through a state championship and a ring.
Brenden Motley, senior: I think it feels better that you know you do it with the kids, your friends you’ve grown up with. Some people switch schools to have a better chance to win, but just that fact that from when we were little we came up and did it together, that makes it special.
Zach Snell, senior: “It means a whole lot to me because it was the last time all of us being together as a group. It means a lot to finally come out with that state championship like the last time that we’ll be together on the same court or the same field, all at once.”
Ben Stipes, senior: “A state title means you’ve reached a pinnacle while doing something you enjoy. The feeling is indescribable. The championship has brought us even closer than we were before. I wouldn’t have want to have won it with any other group.”
Aaron Velarde, junior: It’s a really big change since I’m only a junior, We’ll do our best to get back next year. I’m just proud of them that they did what they could do to get us there.
Joey Augustin, junior: “It means a lot because we worked so hard…It’s special because when I first moved here, I really didn’t know anyone until I started playing basketball, and that’s how I started getting recognized and people started to know me. We’ve just been tight ever since. We’re best friends.”
Kendall Smith, sophomore: “It feels amazing to win it with them. It makes us underclassmen work harder to get back there.”
Tanner Cayton, sophomore: “I’m pretty honored to be a part of it because it’s the first one ever. I was hoping for it, but I never thought we’d do it. It’s special for me, but it’s probably more special for them. They been together, they’ve been trying to do it together for a long time and to finally do it on their senior year.
Josh Moore, sophomore: “It’s pretty good, especially for the seniors. They’ve been playing with each other since they were kids. The whole starting five, they’re all just best friends so it’s really awesome for them to win it. It’s awesome for coach Good because they say third time’s a charm…They’ve showed me in practice that hard work pays off.
Julia Skinner, AAU coach: “I have coached most of these young men since they were 10…To sit and watch their state title run was truly a blessing. Throughout my fight with breast cancer, our bond played a major part in my healing. These boys know how much I love them. Words cannot express how proud I am of what they have accomplished.”
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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