Wednesday, March 23, 2011
SPORTS: Basketball District Championship
Bay City Western senior Andrew Balzer, the team's student manager, cheers as he points a finger in the sky signifying the team's win as "No. 1" as he is lifted by members of the student section Friday night in Bay City, Mich. during the Class A Boy's Basketball District Championship game in Bay City, Mich. Bay City Western won the title 51-40 over Heritage. "It's been unbelievable," he said. "All the hours of practice, the two-a-days, the sweat, blood and tears — it's all been worth it for this moment. This team is simply amazing. We've been a family this entire season, pushing each other to new heights. This team deserves this win."
Bay City Western Head Coach Chris Watz hugs senior guard Tyler Ellis after the team clinched the Class A Boy's Basketball District Championship game against Heritage Friday night in Bay City, Mich. The Heritage Hawks made a late run to bring the game within seven points before the Warriors pulled away for a 51-40 victory. "I love each one of these boys. I genuinely do. We are a family," Watz said. "We battle together. And that bond builds stronger with each battle we take on and win. It's been a long process. It's taken us four years to set the tone and build this team from the ground up. It's been a journey. If I had taken this team through my game plan for the season, we wouldn't be here. It's them. They are striving for harder competition and stepping up every single game." In the locker room, the coach talked with the players after the game, telling them to celebrate tonight, but that they can't rest here. They have another game Monday against Saginaw High School. Watz said, however, to enjoy tonight and the glory that comes with this win. "The expectations on all of you were enormous. I don't know if you understand the monstrosity of the feat you all just accomplished. I am so proud, and am just happy to say I could be your coach," he said during the locker room speech to the team. "This trophy, this title — this is something each one of you can carry with you the rest of your lives. When you are 50 years old, you'll still have this and can brag. Nobody can take that away from any one of you."
Heritage junior forward David Jensen, center right, buries his face into his jersey as he and his teammates sit on the bench after losing the Class A Boy's Basketball District Championship game in Bay City, Mich. Bay City Western won the title 51-40 over Heritage.