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On Friday following the state championship won by the George Washington High School basketball team, Mayor Alonzo Jones said he could see the Danville community in the team’s determination to win.
The Eagles on Thursday night outlasted Louisa County 55-44 to win the Virginia High School League Boys Class 4 title in Richmond.
"This is a special moment, and just thinking about it gives me chills,” Jones said. “These talented young men showed that when you come together for a common goal, and you work hard, then truly special things happen. It reflects our community.”
Jones and other members of City Council offered statements on Friday congratulating the team on winning the school’s first state championship in 21 years.
Vice Mayor Lee Vogler, with his son, Kingston, in tow, attended every GW home game and a few road games this season.
“I am incredibly proud of these young men and the tremendous season they had on their way to becoming state champions,” Vogler said. “Watching these young men grow, not only as players but as people, throughout the season was a joy to behold and a testament to Coach (Jermaine) Parker and the work he has put in. Our entire city is standing to applaud this team. ‘Go Eagles!’”
Councilman Dr. Gary Miller added, “I had called it early on this season when I saw them play. They were good enough to win a state championship. Now, with a little luck and a whole lot of hard work, they have won it all. We are proud of you!”
When the team returned to Danville early Friday morning, it was greeted at the city limits by Danville Police, which escorted the team to the high school.
Cpl. Sylvia Brooks, who heads the Police Department’s youth engagement division, said it was important that the team understand that it had the support of the community.
“When dealing with high school students, it is sometimes hard to engage them positively,” Brooks said. “This was an opportunity to do that, and we wanted to go as big as we could to let them know that we support them.”
The team also had received an escort on Thursday morning from the high school to the city limits on its way to Richmond. Joining Danville Police in a show of support were the mayor and other members of City Council, school leaders, Danville Sheriff’s Office, Danville Fire, and Danville Life Saving Crew.
Police Chief Scott Booth said having the opportunity to play for a state title and then winning it is a dream come true for the players.
“This is something special that these young men will cherish for the rest of their lives," Booth said. “My command staff strongly felt that we needed to be a part of that.”
The Eagles finished their 2019 season with a state title and a 27-2 record. The state championship is the fourth in school history, with the previous titles coming in 1933, 1996 and 1998.