Louisa's state title run a dream years in the making

MINERAL, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Thursday night Louisa County will face George Washington-Danville at the Siegel Center for the Class Four State Championship, which has been a goal for the team since players were in middle school.

These banners in the Lions' Den can serve as a reminder of the past, but also as motivation for the future...

"When Coach [George] Stanley put these banners up, it changed the atmosphere in the gym and I think these kids now play for those numbers up there and they play for the banners," Louisa Head Coach Robert Shelton said, who has his 1994 state finals run with the Lions on one of the banners.

Long before the banners were up though this group from Louisa County have dreamt of reaching this stage.

"Since we were little," junior guard Xavien Hunter said, "I mean our parents put us in Parks and Rec together and Chris [Shelton] came down when he was in seventh grade and ever since then it's been a dream, we knew this time was going to come."

"Ever since we were playing AAU when we were younger it was always a dream to get to this point and be able to win and play at the Seigel," junior guard Jarrett Hunter said, "We played at the Seigel Center when we were younger, but we always wanted to play on that main court."

More than half of this year's Louisa County team played together growing up from parks and rec to AAU, building a foundation for this state finals run.

"We're in the gym some days and we're like we can't slack off today because we have that goal we talked about years ago to get to this moment right here," senior guard Chris Shelton said.

"We all love playing against each other, pushing each other," senior forward Mark Carter said, "I mean we have some times where everybody gets mad at each other, but still we get it done."

And through every challenge this group faces, a community stands behind them showing what the motto on the front of their warm-ups "family" really means in Louisa.

"They built that foundation for us when we face that moment we go back to we had to face Malik [Bell], Job [Whalen] and Raquan [Jones] in practice, so this isn't anything," Chris Shelton said.

"We play for whats across our front chest not our back," Coach Shelton said, "So that's what we always preach as coaches and these kids really follow suit."

CBS19 will have coverage of tomorrow's state championship from Richmond at 10 and 11 p.m.

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