Eagles take home state title


Staff Report

The Eagles took home a state championship title March 7, a road which Senior Nyrek Wheeler said was paved with hard work and dedication.
The team bested Jefferson Forest 53-38 in the Class 4 semi-finals March 5, earning them the last game of the night at the Siegel Center in Richmond.
“It was an emotional win,” Wheeler said of the Jefferson Forest match-up. “It has been a long road that took a lot of hard work and dedication. It feels like a lot of pressure is off our back with this win. A lot of people did not think we would get here and we did so it feels great.”
Playing basketball since he was in middle school, Wheeler said a growth spurt caused him to try out for the sport, having already become a competitive football player. Wheeler hopes to continue to play at the college level, favoring the defensive position.
A four-year veteran of the team Wheeler said defense can make or break a game, with the team’s communication being a huge strength.
“Shooting and closing out shooters are definitely strengths as well,” Wheeler said. “We have a strong bond and we work together well.”
Senior Shunta Wilson called the team a brotherhood, and commended his fellow player on their communication and loyalty.
“The win against Jefferson Forest felt great because we had a lot of revenge on them,” Wilson said. “There is a calmness about getting this far but the pressure isn’t gone yet.”
Consisting of nine seniors and six juniors, the majority of the team has been playing together for four years. Wilson said this allowed for smoother communication and team work, which paid off in the first half when the Eagles led 27-20 against the Louisa County Lions.
GW’s won its last state championship in 1998, offering a big push for the team to bring home the win.
“This is the last year we will put this jersey on and we are working for something, to go to the state championship, not having been in 21 years, it feels awesome,” Wilson said.
Senior Carl Poole Jr. said years together has allowed the seniors to build trust in more ways than one.
“We have built trust in ourselves, trust in each other and trust in our coaches,” Poole said. “There is a whole lot of respect there.”
Poole said the road to the championship has been an inspiring one, one he will not soon forget as the Eagles took home the title of 2019 State Champions with a final score of 55-44.
“I am very excited, about the experience, the atmosphere, the fans, everything,” Poole said. “The hard work, the practices and the late nights, it has all paid off.”
Kapone Barley, a junior, also serves as one of the team captains, honored to be asked to step up as a leader.
“The seniors push us every day, to keep our head in the game, to be better student-athletes; they are supportive of us,” Barley said. “I have confidence in us. We are focusing on the now and what we can accomplish for our seniors, to send them out with a bang.”
Head Coach of the Eagles Jermaine Parker said the team put in countless hours to get to this moment, with the group’s motto, “Remain Humble, but Hungry,” keeping them motivated.
“I am most proud of the guys not giving up on themselves and the relationships they have established with each other. I am super honored to be a part of history,” Parker said. “As a graduate of George Washington’s Class of 98 it is a great feeling because that was the last year we won it all. It makes me super proud because people say that when others graduate they sometime forget where they come from but, in this case, I came back to support my school, give back to the community and coach the game that I’m so passionate about to a great group of young men. I am so grateful to have coached nine seniors on this winning basketball team. They will be going to their separate colleges but they will always remember the words as I tell them, “TRUST THE PROCESS.” Things can sometimes get a little rough and blurry but stay focused and you will get through it.”