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Wapahani Basketball team still inspires community after falling short for 2A State title

The team played in their first-ever IHSAA 2A Championship game two weeks after tornado.
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Posted at 10:52 PM, Mar 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-31 00:54:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS — For the first-time ever, the Wapahani High School Boys Basketball team played on the big stage for the 2A state title at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The game comes just weeks after an EF-3 tornado tore through their town of Selma.

 “We will go down in history,” said Wapahani Boys Basketball Head Coach Matt Luce.

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 Despite a tough loss to Brownstown Central 55-36, Wapahani still made history for their high school in their first ever IHSAA state championship game, with the support of their entire community behind them.

 “I think it really helped, it was awesome just to see everyone come out and support basketball,” said Wapahani Senior Forward Mason Marton.

 "I definitely saw 90% of Selma, Indiana, was here at the game,” added Coach Luce’s son, Matt Luce.

 The basketball team has a beacon of hope for the Selma community.

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 A tornado devastated the small town of less than 800 just days before the boys' team won semi-state to make it to the finals.

 “For us to pull together and help each other, make sure everybody is okay but at the same time we gave everybody something to cheer for,” said Coach Luce.

 Fans like Sheila West were among the hundreds in that Wapahani crowd on Saturday.

 “I couldn’t sleep last night; I was so excited,” she said.

 The 84-year-old uses a wheelchair but still tries to attend every game to support her grandson, Logan Wulff, and the rest of the team.

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 “I’m handicapped. My family stands behind me and they make sure I get to go,” she explained. “It meant everything for me to be here.”

 The team came back from a 17-point lead at half-time, but they couldn’t get the win over Brownstown Central.

Their community and coach were still inspired by their efforts, no matter what the outcome was.

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 “The resiliency, the toughness and the togetherness. I can’t say enough about our guys to be in this moment and show a lot of pride in our school and community,” said Coach Luce. “I’m so proud of them.”

Senior Guard Isaac Andrews also won the Trester Mental Attitude Award following the match up.

It’s awarded to a senior who demonstrated excellence in mental scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.