In the playoffs, a team stands on the brink of disaster. Lose, and you go home. Your seniors move on. Your hard work has to begin again next season with no guarantee of making it as far.
For the Lakeshore boys basketball team, standing on such a precipice has been almost a comfort zone. Districts? Done. Regionals? No problem. Quarterfinals? I bet you see where this is going.
The Lancers (23-2) are now in Michigan’s “Final Four” for Class B—a place they’ve often visited, but never left victorious.
Admittedly, head coach Sean Schroeder wasn’t sure this team could reach the level of the best teams in school history when practices began.
"Well, it’s hard to say if you can make it all the way,” he said. “Upsets happen and you run into really good teams. Every team we have played in regionals or quarterfinals has 20 wins, so you are playing quality teams. Even last summer we had a chance to be very, very good."
His players, on the other hand, claim otherwise.
"I really did [know],” said senior center Alex Klunder. “Our goal was set at [reaching] Breslin, and this has been our goal. Right now, we've met our goal.”
"I knew we'd be good,” said fellow senior Loren Johnson, “but I had no idea we'd be this far down the road."
As special as reaching the semifinal may be, Lakeshore is on the verge of something even more monumental.
“Lakeshore has never reached the final,” Schroeder explained.
Whenever that “never” word starts creeping up, there’s always someone or some team determined to make liars of all who’ve uttered it.
"They want to do something special. They are already talking about how they want to do something that has not been done before," Schroeder said.
"It'd be really cool. I mean it'd be something I could tell my kids when I get older," said senior guard Alex Moneta.
"It means the world,” said Johnson. “Just a great chance to be that one team that made it to the championship game. And once we get there we're looking to win it too."
Lakeshore tips off against Muskegon Heights (20-6) at Michigan State’s Breslin Center Friday at 6p.m. With a win, they move on to the state championship game on Saturday at 8p.m.