EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Before the Williamston boys basketball team got on the bus, for its Division 2 state championship game with Grand Rapids Catholic Central, coach Tom Lewis gathered the team at center court of the high school gym.
Lewis showed his guys a picture of the 1940 Williamston state championship team, which was the last time the Hornets won it all. And that proved to be all the motivation the team needed.
Williamston and Catholic Central went to overtime, and the Hornets prevailed with a 68-65 victory.
“I got that thing (1940 championship picture) and made them stare at it. They chuckled at first, and then I said ’82 years later, we’re still dealing with these ghosts.’ So I said, ‘let’s be ghosts for somebody else and win this thing,'” Lewis said.
Senior guard Mason Docks had a team-high 27 points and said afterward the team wanted to leave a legacy, “When he put that on center court, everyone was saying ‘We want to be remembered. We want to be the next team that makes an impact for Williamston.’ Just looking at that was a little motivation before the game.”
The Hornets led by 16 points in the third quarter, but Catholic Central crawled back and tied the game with under a minute to play in regulation. In overtime, Docks and senior forward Max Burton came up with clutch buckets down the stretch to lead Williamston to victory.
Burton, who scored 23 points said, “It still doesn’t feel real. It’s just an unreal feeling, even our senior season is over with and it just doesn’t feel real yet.”
Senior guard J Wallace felt the same kind of emotions as Burton and said, “I’ve dreamed of this moment since I was a little kid. I’m just in shock like it doesn’t even feel real. It feels so good though because of all the blood, sweat, and tears.”
“I don’t know if I’ll know it’s real until I ride that bus ride home, with the trophy, and I walk in and see my family,” Lewis said.
For a team with ten seniors, Williamston caps off a perfect season in grand fashion – the program’s tenth straight conference title, a district title, a regional title, a perfect 27-0 record, and now a Division 2 state championship.