Saturday, May 26, 2018
Sports

Jesuit basketball team, Class 5A state champs, didn't stop believin'

In an era of rap and Rihanna, 20th century supergroup Journey — of all musical artists — provided the soundtrack for the greatest season in Jesuit basketball lore. Don't Stop Believin' was a PA system staple at Tigers home games, with the rabid student section — known as the "Blue Tide" — singing over Steve Perry's voice and hopping in unison as the song's tempo climbed. What the late arrivals to Jesuit's party failed to realize was, this scene was as appropriate as it was anachronistic. The Tigers' style — selflessness, obsession with tight half-court defense, and senior leadership — was as old-school as their musical accompaniment. The results were staggering: a 31-1 record, 30 of those victories by double digits, and an unblemished mark against Florida competition. Jesuit started five seniors, four of whom averaged between 13 and 16 points. "They're just winners," 26th-year coach Neal Goldman said moments after his team's 79-58 win against Plantation American Heritage in the Class 5A state final. "They made the commitment to play together and play unselfish. Different guys in the spotlight each night, no ego about that — that's what makes these guys special."

   
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