DANVILLE, Va. – Students lined the halls at GW High School in Danville and cheered Thursday morning as the boys basketball team walked from the gym to the buses waiting to carry them to what they hope will be the school's first boys basketball state championship in 21 years.
Forward Nyrek Wheeler was looking forward to the long ride to Richmond.
"I feel like it's good for us so we can bond as brothers," Wheeler said.
Shooting guard and small forward Shunta Wilson said getting to the state championship game has been a community effort.
"We've seen (that) the community's been there for us, giving all that they can give, and us giving all that we can give on the court. So yeah, it's big for us," Wilson said.
For head coach Jermaine Parker, this is about more than just a game.
"This will bring back that unity with everything that's going on in the Danville community, just to get some focus back on GW and the players here at GW, some positivity," Parker said. "We hear a whole lot of (negative) stuff, but there are some good things that are going on in Danville Public Schools. This right here, I'm excited to be a part of, just to take the guy's to Richmond, to VCU, to win a championship. I'm not going to say attempt to win it. We're going to win the championship."
With the buses loaded, the team left the school, led by the lights and sirens of a police escort to the city limit, and then from there by the hope of a city desperate for a championship.