The Hope School Falcons and Thunderbirds are the 2018 State Champions! This is the Thunderbirds second straight title, winning last season and the Falcons claimed their sixth State Championship. The team left with a huge send off that was capped off by a pep rally at Hope School before they left. Goody bags came in droves from well-wishers for the basketball players, cheerleaders, coaches, and chaperones from the giving staff at Hope.
After a safe trip to Tavares, the team was ready to take the court and the cheerleaders eagerly awaited to cheer them on to victory.
The Falcons took the court first and set the bar high for the Thunderbirds who followed in the second state tournament of the day. The Falcons stormed the court with a 41-17 victory in game one and lost nothing in game two. They handed Pasco County a second loss by the score of 33-11 to capture their second straight state championship.
Just a very short time later, the Thunderbirds knew they had to give it their all to keep pace with the Falcons and they didn’t disappoint. The Thunderbirds took game one 22-12 over Duvall County before winning it all in game two 12-6 to bring home their sixth straight championship.
Hope School principal, Dr. Millicent Braxton’s love for her ‘kids’ and the program at Hope exceeds all expectations. Month and month, year after year, Braxton continues to bring Hope to new levels with motivation and strategies that are second to none. Going into last weekend’s state games, Braxton lived up to a promise she made the teams if they BOTH won state. In front of a packed crowd at the gym, she went center stage on the gym floor and showed her athleticism when she completed a cart wheel. The athletes, cheerleaders, fans and staff present gave her a huge round of applause and cheers.
About her teams’ efforts, Braxton was almost speechless, “This year has probably been our best year for athletics at Hope. In November we had our cheer squad earn gold at state, and now not 1 but 2 teams earned gold at state. We are blessed to be able to have 3 state champs on our campus in 1 school year. Our athletes are just amazing! Those kids worked hard at every game they played in, worked hard at practice, and then they played their hearts out at state. I was so excited to see them do their best and play with heart, and show teamwork. The Falcons players were on the sidelines coaching the T Bird players during both games. It is such a good feeling to know that they care enough about each other they want to help make each other better- both on the court and off the court. The coaches this year have just been outstanding. It has been a group effort to coach and get the kids to practices and tournaments. Coach Amos Spires, Coach Karen Redmon (Falcons), Coach Dexter Roulhac, Coach Doyle Pumphrey (T-Birds), Coach Jack Glover, Coach Joy Hand (Skills Team), and our awesome PE Coach that does all the paperwork for our teams, Coach Sarah Aase have done an amazing job this year. I also want to thank our cheerleaders that made the trip to Tavares with the team and cheered for them at all 4 games- they are such a great inspiration for our teams. Thanks to Sponsor Karen Parrish, Juna Sims, and Carol Rhames for helping the cheerleaders. We had parents attend the games for both cheerleaders and basketball players and I want to thank them for being involved. I am so blessed to be part of this amazing place called Hope School. Our kids have made history and I want them to enjoy every minute. We will be celebrating this for a while. “
Congratulations to these two awesome teams, the cheerleaders who cheered their hearts out, and to a staff that surrounds these youngsters with love every day, day in and day out from the publisher and staff of the Jackson County Times.