One special season for Wauneta-Palisade

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It was a storybook year for the Wauneta-Palisade boys basketball team.

No, make that a storybook career, at least for the graduating seniors, who have been playing together since at least junior high.

"We have eight seniors and they laid everything on the line," Coach Dave Kuhlen said after their 71-60 defeat of the Leigh Panthers in the Nebraska Class D-1 state tournament. "What a great bunch. I love coaching them and wish I could keep coaching them."

The Broncos' 25-0 season must have been especially gratifying after last year's season, in which the team was undefeated before falling to Cambridge in the opening round of the state tournament.

Making a trip to a state tournament is something student athletes will remember for the rest of their lives, whether or not they realize it now.

How much more so for this year's Broncos squad, who achieved perhaps even a more important prize in the process of winning the state tourney, the Class D-1 Sportsmanship Trophy awarded by the Nebraska State Activities Association.

The determination each of the young athletes applied in honing their own skills, plus the teamwork, self-sacrifice and self-confidence are qualities that will serve them well as they face challenges and strive for increasingly lofty goals.

The Wauneta and Palisade communities can be forgiven if they are a little puffed up for the next few weeks. Parents, teachers and boosters are justifiably proud of the roles they played in this year's state championship.

There's nothing like the morale boost an honor like this can provide.

So enjoy the feeling, Broncos players and fans.

This year's basketball season was really something special.

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