TAMPA - There have been other Wharton teams that could have played for a state title. They've had the talent. They've had the opportunity.
But every time, they've fallen short of the final four. Not this year.
For a program that has never had a losing season in its 16 year history, this year's team is the first to win the regional and advance to the state semifinals.
But, once again, it very nearly didn't happen.
This time, though, the luck was on the side of the Wildcats.
In the regional finals, their opponent hit what appeared to be a game-winning three pointer at the buzzer. Officials met. They deliberated. And decided (correctly) that the shot came just after the clock expired.
The celebration ensued, and now, Wharton is headed to the final four for the first time.
Coach Tommy Tonelli had a hard time putting words to what it meant to finally get the program to the next level. But he's not the only one on this team who has seen this program develop from day one.
Click on the story above to see how Tommy and his son Thomas, now a junior on the team, celebrated together in the aftermath of the dramatic regional final win.