Miguel Bocachica enveloped the countenance of a proud father.
After joining his two best players in a television interview, the West Catholic Prep boys’ basketball coach walked away and began marinating in the Burrs’ dominant 83-55 PIAA Class 3A state championship win over Deer Lakes on March 25 at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA.
The program’s first-ever state title had a nice ring to it.
“It feels great,” said Bocachica. “Kids play here with the opportunity of making history. That’s always been a thing. Today, we accomplished this.
“I’m just super happy for the kids. They worked so hard. They’ve given the program every little bit of what they have. That’s everybody – from my starters to the kids who come off the bench to maybe the kids who don’t play a lot. I’m happy for my kids. I’m happy for my staff. Our administration. Our students. I’m super happy about West Catholic.”
Trailing by 15-14 after the first eight minutes, West Catholic overwhelmed Deer Park with a 24-4 second quarter. The onslaught continued in the second half, during which Bocachica did the classy thing by providing 13 of his Burrs quality playing time.
Nine of those players scored at least two points. But it was the incredible production of first-team, All-Catholic seniors Adam “Budd” Clark and Zion Stanford that clearly stood out from the rest.
In 28 minutes and 55 seconds of playing time, Clark shot an incredible 16-of-18 from the field en route to 32 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. In the exact same amount of court time before fouling out, Stanford added 30 points, four rebounds, three steals, an assist, and a block.
Both seniors are longtime friends, and both mentioned how special it was to share the spotlight with a combined 62 points.
“Those two guys are amazing,” said Bocachica. “They’ve been amazing all year. They have an amazing friendship, and they have an amazing chemistry on the basketball court. And it just oozes and trickles down to the rest of them.”
When West Catholic began the season with five losses in six games, the thought of ultimately finishing with a 20-10 record, an overtime loss in the Catholic League semifinals, and snaring a state title seemed far-fetched.
But no one saw the effort behind the scenes.
“I just got a bunch of relentless dudes,” he said. “When we were 1-5, by our energy in our own gym, you’d think we were 6-0, which I wasn’t great a fan of. I wanted them to be a little more upset about being 1-5. But they were super-confident in themselves. We knew that at some point things would flip.”
After the Burrs fell behind by 8-0 in the first quarter of the state final, Stanford wasn’t too worried.
“We practice every day for these moments,” said Stanford. “It all comes from all the hard work when nobody is watching. This is where it shows . . . in the big moments.”
Contact John Knebels at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @johnknebels
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