Antonian basketball celebrates state championship
Apaches defeat powerhouses Concordia Lutheran and Prestonwood Christian to win
SAN ANTONIO – The Antonian Apache boys basketball team stood proudly before their school as state champions last Friday.
"It was just big. It's a great feeling to know that we have people on our back to support us," said junior guard Khalil Warfield.
Warfield and his teammates took center stage in the school auditorium, packed with their fans and supporters, affectionately known as the Red Sea. The team, with state championship trophy and banner in hand, soaked in the moment after beating Prestonwood Christian 70-67 on March 1 to win the TAPPS Class 6A state championship.
It's the first state championship in basketball for Antonian in 20 years.
"I've been to the final four twice before but hadn't been able to win the whole thing. To actually win the title is unreal," said Apache head coach Rudy Bernal.
Bernal, a San Antonio basketball coaching legend who made a habit of beating more talented teams in his 31 years at Lanier High, had to lead his current program over perennial TAPPS powers in the state tournament. The Apaches beat Concordia Lutheran in the semifinals before topping Prestonwood in the championship game.
"Every time I go through my phone and see the videos, the pictures - I still get chills," said sophomore guard Gavino Ramos. "We've watched the film of that game on several occasions and I still get nervous. Its just surreal."
Antonian's win was a shift in the power structure in TAPPS Class 6A. Prior to 2019, Concordia and Prestonwood had combined to win the previous 10 state championships.
"They always talk about San Antonio being a stepchild when it comes to athletics," Bernal said. So to be able to beat those programs, one from Houston and one from DFW, it makes it that much sweeter."
"Just beating a team of that pedigree, it's a great feeling," echoed sophomore guard Juan Reyna.
With four starters returning next year, Antonian has a great chance to repeat the feat. For now, though, its time to celebrate.
"We finally did it. We're state champions," Reyna said.
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