St. Vincent-St. Mary celebrates record 8th men’s basketball title

AKRON, Ohio - Students at St. Vincent St. Mary High School welcomed their victorious men's basketball team home on Monday celebrating history.

The Fighting Irish on Saturday won the school's unprecedented 8th state men's high school state championship by winning the Division II title, defeating Trotwood Madison 60-51 in Columbus.

The win continues a legacy that started in 1984 but was reinvigorated in 2000 when LeBron James was instrumental in bringing the school three of its titles during his four years there.

Also there for most of the titles has been current head coach Dru Joyce, who says the winning never gets old.

"This one is very special because as we have talked about it. It's historic you know now we are the most, have the most state championships in the state of Ohio and that's something that the school can be proud of," said Joyce.

"We always talk about every year at the beginning of the season it's their opportunity to write their chapter. You know LeBron wrote his those are, he helped set the standard and now you know this is your opportunity and these guys definitely bought into that vision and made it happen," he added.

Their 8th title also makes back to back titles for the team after winning the championship in 2017.

"This is special. It's special to make history. We made history yesterday with the school's eight state championships and that's something I'm always going to remember. I'm blessed to be a part of history with this group of guys," said Scott Walter, a senior Pont Guard.

"It's amazing because LeBron went here and all the great players that went through here. It's nice to be a part of this," Said senior guard Lunden McDay.

LeBron James was not present for Monday's celebration but he recorded a video message for the school while travelling with the Cavaliers.

"That's what we do. The tradition carries on man no matter who is in uniform Coach Dru has always been the guy that held to keep that tradition going," said LeBron.

"I was a part of that tradition - me and my fab five was a part of that tradition - these kids today are a part of that tradition and the ones before us and the ones that come after us," he added

Willie McGee was a teammate of LeBron's and is now St. Vincent St. Mary's Athletic Director.

He described seeing the eight trophies side by side as a "beautiful sight to behold."

"Honestly, you know for me it's even more special to be a part of six of those, three as a player two as a coach and two as an athletic director, so they mean a lot. They mean a lot to the community as well as the team and everyone so to be able to be here is special," said Mcgee.

He says winning their record-setting title has not yet sunk in.

"I think going down there every year gives the kids a sense of pride to understand that we have made it down there but the opportunity to get over the hump or the hurdle and win the state championship is something special here that we don't take lightly," said McGee.