Tigers Get Warm Sendoff For Trip To State

The Arp Tigers had a little extra jump in their step this morning as they loaded their bus for Austin. After all, no Tigers basketball team has ever done it before.

"It makes me feel great to know that we are the first team ever," said senior guard Wes Wills.  "We're setting the bar for every team that comes through Arp."

And what a bar it is.  A 30-win season, district championship, and ticket to Austin.

"It's exciting, it really is," said senior forward Mark Gill.  "It's a dream come true. I don't think it's going to set in until we get into the city limits but, I'm really excited.

Arp's best good luck charm may be the man charged with taking the Tigers to the Austin city limits.  He is Rose Capitol Charters bus driver David McDaniel.

"I carried Van down [to the state tournament in Austin] last year, and they won," said McDaniel, "so that's what I want to do with these."

"I think we can win it for sure now," joked sophomore forward Sedrick Johnson.  "We've got the lucky bus driver."

The atmosphere was electric, as students, parents and community members lined the walkway from the locker room to the bus, enthusiastically cheering on their team.

"Our community has been great all year long," said head coach Brian Keith.  "We have the best fans in the world and this is part of it today."

The Tigers begin their quest for the state championship tomorrow morning at 9am when they take on Shaquille O'Neals alma mater, San Antonio Cole, coached by former TJC player Herb More.  The 2A state championship game is scheduled for 10am on Saturday.

"I can't imagine a greater feeling in the world then to say we achieved our goal," said Wills, "and all we have to do is win two more games and we can say that."

Kevin Berns reporting.