PLANT CITY, Fla. — Plant City High School is the new title town thanks to the Raiders Special Olympics Unified basketball team.
“It feels great, it really does,” senior Taylor Teeden told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “Walking in the halls, we’re going to see the trophies.”
Teeden said “trophies,” as in plural. Last year, Plant City needed a buzzer-beater to win the championship. This year was a little less stressful with a nine-point win over Childs High School to bring home more hardware.
“We were way better in shape. We stayed in the gym working together, practiced together for endless weekends,” senior Austin Davis said. “The bond we have together when we play is beatable. No team has anything for us.”
“We have really good communication,” Teeden added. “Everyone knows their role. We have our spots on defense. Everyone hits their spot and communicates the whole time.”
Plant City High School has had three other teams at the school win state championships. But this Unified team is the only team at the school to win back-to-back state titles.
“It’s pretty good making history,” Davis said. “Got to get it for the school. I mean, no one else can.”
“It was really amazing to win two championships with the same team in a row,” Parker Hancock added. “I love these guys.”
“They’ve always been helping me, teaching me how to do basketball,” senior Kyle Hall said. “I appreciate their help.”
Hall has been on the team for four years. Many of the players on this year’s roster won’t be back next year. They’ve aged out making a three-peat difficult. But Hancock has a message.
“No, I’m coming back,” he said. “I’m going to come back and I’m going to bring it back home.”