For the second year in a row, the George Washington basketball team has reached the 5A state championship game. After a slow start to the season, the Patriots were able to gather steam and end the regular season with an 18-5 record, and the 5th seed in the CHSAA 5A state tournament.
The Patriots defeated Rock Canyon High School in an intense overtime matchup in the semifinal round on Friday, March 9.
On Saturday, March 10, the stage was set for the Patriots’ second consecutive finals berth. Senior Henry Hoffman had high hopes for the basketball team this season. “I thought we had the best team in my years being here,” Hoffman said, “I really think we can win this [Saturday].”
The Denver Coliseum was packed with GW students in green and white, with a large turnout for the championship game. “We had a huge student section to show our support and excitement for our team,” senior Vincent Stahel said.
The students truly went all out, in terms of school spirit, including junior Tanner Hemmingsen. “This was our last game of the year, so I had to get into the face painting and sign making for the game,” Hemmingsen said.
Overall, the basketball players are content with their team and the season, as a whole. Junior Blake Whitelaw raved about his team’s performance this season. “I thought we accomplished a lot and came together as a team,” Whitelaw said.
The Patriots faced the Grandview Wolves in an energy-filled championship game. “That was one of the best games I’ve ever seen,” Stahel said, “Everyone played hard and gave it their all, and we could see that from the student section.”
The game remained close throughout, with the Patriots ending the first half with a three-point lead. “We played great in the first half, we were super hard to guard at that point,” senior Kelly Trang said.
The game impressed people who weren’t even in the student section, including biology teacher Taylor Schmidt. “It was amazing seeing so many students come out and show their school spirit for this game,” Schmidt said, “I am also proud of our players and everything they’ve accomplished this year.”
After battling hard throughout the second half, the Patriots unfortunately lost to the Wolves on Saturday. In a heated matchup, Grandview ultimately won the game with a final score of 57-52.
“We made a great run in the tournament,” Whitelaw said, “I feel like we fought hard in the championship game and came up short.”
“This was the best basketball team I had seen in my last four years [at GW]”, Hoffman added, “They had the best chemistry and genuinely seemed to all get along.”
“We became brothers this season,” Whitelaw said, “We worked hard for each other, and ultimately it worked out in our favor.”
All in all, the Patriots had great accomplishments this season, and have high expectations for the next year. “I feel like we can make a run at the championship next year again,” Whitelaw said.