Grapeland heads to the state tournament: 'We want the ring'

GRAPELAND, TX (KTRE) - The Grapeland boys basketball team has made it where every team in the state dreams to go, but only few have been, the state tournament.

The Sandies are currently on a 24 game winning streak and say they won't be satisfied until they win the last two games at state, and get the ring only champions can wear.

The team loaded the bus Tuesday evening and started heading toward Austin for the state tournament.

It's a dream come true for these boys.

"It means a lot," said senior Patrick Walker. "I've been wanting this for a very long time and to finally be here in this position means a lot to me."

The Sandies say the Grapeland community has been a part of the journey every single step of the way.

"I think our population sign is about 1,200 and every single playoff game we have over a thousand," said head coach Owen Clifton.

This trip to state means much more for Dom DeCello, a sophomore on the team. He will take the floor with his number one supporter beside him, his father. Dom is making their dream a reality.

"Me and my dad use to always go to state tournaments and watch them and talk about how we wanted to go," said Dom.

"He always asks me, 'Dad are we ever going to have a team go to the state tournament so I can play in Austin?'" said Anthony DeCello, Dom's father and assistant coach to the Sandies basketball team.

When the Sandies won the regional semifinal, both Dom and Anthony knew they had accomplished what they talked about years before.

"When we won the regional final, my dad came up to me after the game and gave me a big hug," said Dom. "It was emotional."

"When we won I yelled, 'We did it! We did it! We finally get to go to Austin,'" said Anthony. "I haven't slept since because all I keep thinking about is sitting on the floor and seeing Dom out there in a state championship."

With their city behind them, the Sandies leave knowing they aren't ready to be done yet.

"Every single team loses the last game, and there's one that doesn't. We want to be that one," said Clifton.

"We are going to have fun, but we're focused on getting a ring," said Walker.

Grapeland will face Muenster in the state semifinal game. The game starts at 8:30 a.m. in Austin.

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