COAL TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- At Lourdes Regional High School in Northumberland County, fans awaited the return of the Red Raiders boys basketball team after finishing second in Class A.
When the players finally got home from the state championship in Hershey, they did so in style.
A loss to powerhouse Kennedy Catholic, which claimed its third straight state title, didn't put a damper on the Red Raiders' Cinderella run.
"Every one of the 16 kids on this team got better, and they have a unity. They have a bond, and they'll experience this and have this for the rest of their lives," said head coach James Sandri.
"What we did, I think it's great. Looking back on it, it's everything we wanted it to be," said CJ Reichard, senior guard.
Although the Red Raiders fell short of their ultimate goal, this team took special pride in representing the community and central Pennsylvania. The team lived by the saying "Small Town, Big Dreams."
"It's a special time to represent everybody. To see everybody here, even though we lost, they were behind us the whole time. It's special for this school," said Thomas Schultz, junior forward.
"Doing it for my community, this means a lot to people who went here in the past and people who go here now," said Ty Klembara, junior guard.
"The community needs things like this to bring people together," said former teacher Barbara Reiprish.
In the NCAA tournament, Sister Jean has become a sensation as team chaplain for the Final Four bound Loyola Chicago Ramblers. Lourdes Regional had its own good luck charm during the playoffs: Sister Teresa Vincent.
"I knew the boys were going to go far because they played as a team and they had their hearts in it," Sister Teresa Vincent said.
Despite the team's 78-36 defeat, the Red Raiders are in the history books with the 1990 team that won a state championship.