HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The Green Run and Smithfield boys, and Princess Anne girls, prepare to play for high school basketball state titles on Saturday.
"I just try to make sure they understand not to leave anything out there," Packers head coach Theotis Porter said. "Empty the tank because you won’t be able to get it back."
"You can’t underestimate opponents when you in a championship game," Cavaliers head coach Darnell Dozier said."You never know what will happen.”
You may not know what's going to happen in a championship game, but one thing we've grown to know for certain the past decade is that the Cavaliers will be competing in the state championship game. They've played in 14 title games and a win on Saturday makes them champions for an eighth straight season.
"Once we started winning and you get to the method of how to win against teams around here, it came pretty easy," Dozier said. "I can’t tell you exactly what that method is because then everybody would know, so basically we run the same thing every year and I'm surprised some people haven’t picked up on it, but that’s to my advantage.
"[Winning titles] is really not as exciting to me as it used to be because we've won so many of them, but the younger kids just can’t wait. My freshman we're talking about, 'I wonder how it's gonna feel to get a ring on my finger for basketball.' They be saying stuff like that, and the older kids are looking at them like, 'I got three rings.'"
The boys at Green Run already have rings, as well, and are eyeing back-to-back titles. Although, unlike last year, they want to win the championship outright. In 2020, they faced a devastating blow when the pandemic led to the cancellation of the championship game just days before it was set to take place, which left them sharing the title with their opponent.
The boys at Smithfield, on the other hand, enter uncharted territory. Unlike their 757 counterparts, the Packers are headed to their first state title game in school history.
"It’s pretty special to be the first team to ever do it," Porter said. "I think it’s 115 years or something like that. It's definitely a unique experience. Like I told my guys, we’re not going on a field trip, we’re not trying to make it to the game.
"Our goal is to win and that’s what our intentions are."
Princess Anne plays the first game of the day when they face Patrick Henry High School at 5 p.m. Both boys teams play at 7 p.m., Smithfield at John Handley High School and Green Run at Stone Bridge High.