SPOKANE, Wash. – A large crowd of supporters gathered at Spokane International Airport on Saturday night to welcome home national championships.
Parents, friends and community members patiently waited for Central Valley High School girls’ basketball holding signs that read “Natty Champs” and “Welcome Home.”
The undefeated CVHS Bears, a 3-seeded team, trumped No. 1 Hamilton Christian Academy out of Tennessee 66-61 at the GEICO High School Nationals championship on Saturday morning.
As soon as the players entered the terminal, the crowd erupted with cheering, shouting and whistling, and the team posed with the championship trophy.
Junior shooting guard Tomeika Whitman said she was overwhelmed with emotion during the final moments of the game.
“I knew we had it in us from the very beginning and I was just really happy about it,” she added. “I just started jumping up and down, and went running after everybody on the team and screaming. It was just, like, an unreal feeling and I was just so excited.”
Whitman said she still cannot believe the win is a reality but expected the community’s support during the team’s homecoming.
Lexie Hull, the Bears’ superstar senior guard and forward, said she is still processing the win.
“I can’t believe this is how it ended. It couldn’t have been more perfect,” she added.
She said the team is blessed to receive such an outpouring of support from the community.
Hull was recently named the Associate Press Washington’s all-classification girls player of the year and player of the year in her respective class. She will play basketball at Stanford University in California this fall.