GRAPELAND, TX (KTRE) - Leave it to Grapeland to be the only team representing East Texas in the boy's basketball state tournament.
"At the beginning of the year, me and Tink promised each other that if we make it to the regional tournament, we're going to go to state. So the emotions afterward were crazy because we kept our promise," said senior Parker Wilson.
It's the Sandies second trip to state in three years and there's a lot of familiarity going into this tournament.
Just like in 2014, Grapeland will be playing Muenster. It's the same storyline, but with hopes of a much different ending.
"It's just another game. I'm glad we get to continue playing in the season, but we have some unfinished business we need to go take care of," said senior Tink McQuirter.
That unfinished business is getting redemption on their rematch with Muenster who beat them 65-64 in the 2014 state semifinal. Muenster is ranked first in the state with a 31-6 record.
"They're big just like they were three years ago, but honestly, we're used to playing teams that are bigger than us," said head coach Cannon Earp.
"They definitely work hard. If we don't work hard, match their intensity and give our all, it's going to be pretty tough for us to win," said McQuirter.
"We're going to have to box out, rebound, and keep them out of the paint," said Wilson. "I feel like they have more pressure than we do since they're the highest ranked team and we're the underdogs. We have nothing to lose."
You can call No. 18 Grapeland the supposed 'underdogs' all you want, but at 33-5 they've beaten three ranked teams this playoff run to prove they're exactly where they're meant to be.
"We're a brotherhood and we love each other. I'd go to war with these guys any day. I'll go through thick and thin with them," said Wilson. "We've shedded blood, sweat and tears with each other. They've always had my back and I've had theirs. That's why it's so special because we all wanted it and we all got it."
Grapeland has decided not to have school on Friday so that the Sandies can get as much support as possible in their state semifinal game. Grapeland and Muenster will play at 8:30 a.m. at the Alamodome.