WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) - The Waseca boys’ basketball team won the program’s first state title in over a century this weekend.
”Thank you guys for coming out. We appreciate, you guys have been good to us for years and years,” said Kyreese Willingham, Waseca senior.
The community of Waseca came out in numbers to welcome back and celebrate the Bluejays’ successful business trip to the Target Center that ended with a state title, rewarding fans for their patience in a year where many spent time watching the team online instead of in person.
“It’s crazy that we just brought it home to all these people and all these fans supporting us. We love them, and we couldn’t have done it without them,” said Ryan Dufault, Waseca senior.
“Holy cow, it’s just an unbelievable, ecstatic feeling. It’s incredible, the bus ride in with all the people lined up along the highways honking and waving with their signs. It makes you appreciate how many people were following the team all year long and in the state tournament. It was always a bummer you couldn’t fill and pack the stands, but coming home to such a great reception, it makes you realize how important this championship is to the community,” said Seth Anderson, Waseca head coach.
In a year filled with uncertainty, team’s having seasons ended prematurely due to COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, Waseca managed to get the job done after coming so close in recent years.
“I mean we wanted it last year too. Last year it got cancelled, sophomore year we lost in the state championship so we knew we had to get the win,” said Dufault.
“There’s never been more obstacles to a basketball season than what we endured this year whether it was the masks, quarantines. It was an unbelievable season with unpredictable circumstances. For us to play the other best team in AA, that was such a rewarding feeling,” said Anderson.
The Bluejay family won’t ever forget this historic finish by the boys’ basketball team.
“As soon as you won the state title, nobody can ever take this thing away from you. It’s going to sit in the high school gym and say state champions of 2021 for the rest of their lives,” said Anderson.
The state championship victory brought Waseca’s record to 23-1 this year with the team’s only loss coming to the Class AAA state champion Minnehaha Academy Redhawks.