Wheatley tries for repeatMonday, February 23, 2009 By Rashad Price
It’s been roughly 11 months since Wheatley has felt the anguish of defeat to Forth Worth’s Southwest in the 2008 State championship game. According to returning players, Wheatley gave everything they had in that game, but at the end of the day, the scoreboard had shown Wheatley losing 95-89. They fell one game short of winning their 20th championship trophy. Entering this season with a clear conscious would not be easy but redemption was the only game-plan Coach Willie Patrick has had in mind. Asked, what were his players mind state entering this season, Patrick simply said, “To repeat and go back down 290 (road to Austin )… just to go back to state (Championship Game). But as simple as that may sound to go back down 290, it would actually be a tremendous feat considering Wheatley has many competitors who are trying to go down the same path for the chance to win the Championship. “Jones, Washington, LBJ and Southwest are our toughest competitors because we match up. We're equal and all the teams do the same thing,” Patrick said. Henry Buckley is one of the six returning players and one of the key components on this year’s redeem team. Buckley agrees with Patrick saying the team’s goal is to make another trip to Austin. “Yes, we want to go back to Austin and we want to go further this year,” Buckley said. He chuckled when asked if the season would be a bust if they didn’t win state this year. “So far we’re on a championship path,” Buckley said. “If we don’t get back to state, it’ll be a bust.” Josef Brown, another valuable piece of the puzzle, said he also felt the defeat of last year’s championship game, but said he feels that this year’s team is a championship team. “This is definitely not a bust season... this is a championship season,” Brown said. “We just have to continue to win,” Mike Davis, Wheatley's leading scorer, said he watched from the audience last year as Wheatley fell to achieve its goal. This year, he said, the team is on a mission. “Definitely! Every time we step on the court, we have something to prove. Some people say we're not as good as last year, so whenever we're playing, we definitely have something to prove,” he said. But before Wheatley can begin to celebrate, they have to beat Sharpstown. The game takes place Feb. 23.