The Bowie Jackrabbits believed a state championship was achievable, but that was more evident after a spark in the second half of the season.
"I had one parent tell me it was the uniforms that we got," said Jackrabbits head coach Doug Boxell. "Once we got new uniforms, we never lost again. But no, I think this team had such high expectations that we weren't going to be satisfied with anything but winning the state championship."
"We hit some bumps in the road early on," said Jackrabbits forward Daniel Mosley. "I know after we lost to Holliday in district, we were all upset with each other and I think after that we had a spark and it pushed us to get better."
"And then through playoffs, we kept the momentum going. And then we kep fire under us as we got to regionals and ever since then we felt unstoppable."
"I felt like once the season was over, we played our first warm up game, then we hit the playoffs and I felt like the kids just went to a new level," Boxell said. "They were fulfilling their dream and we were fulfilling our potential as far as what the players were. They had become a team and the best team in the state."
The Jackrabbits defeated Grandview 59-43 in the state semifinals, outscoring the zebras 27-16 in the second half.
"We had a lot of players, there was really no way you could stop us I don't think," said Justin Franklin, a guard for the Jackrabbits. "When we started shooting well and were getting inside, we were hitting from all cylinders. When we started this playoff run, I don't think any other team was doing that quite like we were."
Bowie now had to get past one more team, Mount Vernon in the state finals.
Their attitude going into that matchup?
"Win it," Franklin said. "We knew were the better team I think, too. I think we had confidence going into it and we just wanted to finish what we started."
And that they did, taking down the Tigers 32-28, becoming the 3A State Champions and taking home Team of the Week honors.
"Still kind of feels unreal that we got the state championship, like I'm still in shock," Bowie Jackrabbit Dillon Swaim said. "I don't think it's really set in."
"It was kind of unreal, just seeing everyone so happy and running around, that's what you dream of," said Franklin. "Just try to take every bit of it in that you can. It's just special."
"It's obviously great to win the State Championship and the Team of the Week is just another thing that they can have in their memory and that type of thing," Boxell said. "This team's special and we've had more than just week of being of the week in my book. So, it's been a great year even though we've had some ups and downs, that's what kind of makes it special too."
The Jackrabbits said what's even more special, their fans. Whether they were playing in the Metroplex or down in San Antonio, the Bowie Community showed up to cheer on their boys.
"I mean, they've been like that this whole time," Franklin said. "When they put us out at rank 1 to start the season and they stuck with us even though were going down and lost a couple of games, they stuck with us. That's just how Bowie is. You could be walking anywhere around town and somebody is going to say something to you, so that part is special to me."
"It's always neat to have a big crowd there and Bowie's fans are so passionate about the history of basketball there," said Boxell.
"On my way home I saw people just yelling out there windows and going crazy," Swaim said. "It was just awesome seeing that, just seeing everybody be so happy for us."
The Bowie fans helped provide a moment which will go down in Texoma sports history, cheering on Daniel Mosley as he accepted his State Tournament MVP award.
"It shows how much the team can benefit someone because without the team and the community, everyone helping me out, that wouldn't have been possible," Mosley said. "So, it just feels really nice to know that I have so many people to back me up."
"That's why I was so emotional because all that set in."
The Bowie Jackrabbits entered this season hoping to make mission, the mission was made.
"Everything that we did, it seemed like it was perfect," Boxell said. "We had a perfect motto, the kids worked hard, the kids spent a lot of time together. And you just don't want to win a championship, you kind of want to build a family and I fell like that's what we did."
Ranger College defeated Vernon College 3-2 in game 1 and 7-5 in game 2.