They weren’t going to be denied this year.
After losing in the GISA Class A state-championship game to Memorial Day in 2011, the teams met again in February with a state title on the line.
Once again the game went to overtime, but this time the Wildcats got to do the celebrating.
The Wildcats rallied in the fourth quarter to tie it, and they went on to win 76-74 to claim a state title they’d come so close to winning the year before.
“This was our goal all year long,” head coach Tory McCray said. “We wanted to get better every day, and then we set goals for ourselves which were to win the regular season, win the region tournament, and to eventually get back here and win the state title. I am more proud of this group of kids than anything.”
Sanchez Talley, whose basket late in regulation tied it, called it an “amazing” feeling.
“I can’t even explain it right now,” Talley said.
Senior Antonias Harrison, who scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half, told his teammates at halftime that the Wildcats were going to win, even though they were down by seven points.
Harrison said his message to his teammates was to “keep your poise and believe in everybody on your team,” and he said “we were able to do that.”
In girls’ basketball, the Lady Wildcats enjoyed a turnaround season, finishing third in the region to secure a spot in the state tournament.
Dawson Street also got to celebrate a state championship during track season.
Shaquille Tiggs, a multi-sport standout who also starred in basketball and football, raced to the Class A championships in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.
Shanetris Robertson nearly won a state title of her own, but she settled for a second-place finish in the 100, and she was third in the long jump and fourth in the 400-meter run.
Other track athletes who snared top-five finishes included Quintavious Gray and Ryan Fountain.
On the football field, the Wildcats overcame an 0-4 start to go 5-5 in the regular season and make it to the state playoffs where they fell to Thomas Jefferson.
Team member Brandon Johnson said the players did a great job of keeping their heads up after the slow start.
“We just knew we all had to come together as one. And we did it,” Johnson said. “We pulled it off.”