As the local team hosts for the Sacred Heart Gremlins Boys Basketball Team during the State Championship Tournament, we want to congratulate the players, coaches, cheer leaders, students, and the many Gremlin fans on their Class 2 State Championship and 31-0 record. We especially want to thank the team for allowing us to get to know them and witness first-hand the dream they dedicated themselves to come true –the first Sacred Heart boys basketball state championship.
There is no quit in the Sacred Heart Boys Basketball Team –and the emphasis here is on Team! The Gremlins came to the Missouri State High School Basketball Championships with an unblemished 29-0 record for the 2013-2014 campaign. They were greeted by one of the strongest group of Class 2 finalists in the championship tournament’s long history. Among the four finalists, there was a total of only five losses. The Gremlins’ opponent in the championship game, the Iberia Rangers, had only a single loss and are, themselves, a talented, well-coached, and classy team. The Rangers only loss was to the very good, Class 3, Eugene Eagles who lost a close quarterfinal game to Cardinal Ritter, this year’s Class 3 state champion.
At the state championships, the coach and a few players meet with the press after their games, win or lose. When Coach Goodwin and his players responded to questions, both after their semifinal win over Thayer and again after their championship win over Iberia, they uniformly emphasized that they saw themselves, first and foremost, as a team. To be sure, the Sacred Heart Gremlins are a team constituted of talented individuals but with a common goal that could only be realized when those individuals bonded together to become more than the sum of their individual skills. This, of course, is no great secret. Every coach strives for it, but that mercurial bond doesn’t always happen. When it does, it’s a thing of beauty; behold the Gremlins. Clearly much of the energy required to play basketball at the level demonstrated by the Gremlins is infused by the fans; and Coach Goodwin and his players emphasized the importance of the support they have received all year from the Big Red Raucous Gremlin Community, a critical part of the team. You don’t infuse energy sitting on your hands whispering well wishes, a point well understood by the energetic Gremlin fans. So, here’s the formula for winning a state championship. First, get a group of kids who love to play basketball. Then get some coaches who love them and will teach and guide them. Then get a broad spectrum of supporters made up of family, friends, teachers, school loyalists, and the entire community, Sedalia in the Gremlin’s case. Then add that spark of dedication to a common goal and go for it. Of course it helps if the kids have talent and are willing to put in the work to develop that talent; and if they can run both ends of the floor flat out for four quarters; and then come to a dead stop and hit a critical free throw with the game on the line; and probably a few other things such as hand-eye coordination, quickness, and vertical leap. Nobody said it was easy!
Finally, during this incredible Gremlin campaign, talk of an undefeated season was NOT a topic at team meetings or even for casual conversation. Such talk was considered an unwanted distraction. Now the unwanted distraction has become a lifetime memory, 31-0, state champions. How cool is that? Well done Gremlins; and our hardiest congratulations. You remind us all what is best about high school sport.
Team Hosts, Sacred Heart Gremlins
Jack Cronhardt and Steve Morris