COLORADO SPRINGS — Junior Arambula made one bold declaration to his coach and his teammates. He was going to have to be dragged out of the Broadmoor World Arena if he didn't have a state championship trophy in his hands.
Luckily, he gets to walk out on his own. And he'll be carrying history with him. Arambula was all heart and emotion and his 13 points helped Wray beat Limon 56-50 to claim the Class 2A boys basketball title, the first in the school's history.
"This is only my third year (playing basketball)," Arambula said. "I came over from wrestling after my freshman year. Anytime I step on this court, or any court, I carry it with me that the only way you're going to beat us is if you drag every one of out of here, whether we're broken, bleeding or dead."
They were nearly dead in the water.
The Badgers (16-2) jumped out to a 34-24 lead heading into halftime as Tory Tacha broke out for 11 points, the most of all players in the first half. As the Eagles (16-0) made their way to the locker room, they felt a mixture of disappointment and anger with their play in the first half.
"When we went to the locker room, we were all pretty mad," Bryant Schoenthal said. "Our heads were down."
By the time they took the floor to start the second half. They clamped down defensively and allowed just one Limon basket in the third quarter and took a 37-36 lead heading into the fourth.
Camden Smithburg scored at will in the fourth quarter to Limon take a two-point edge late in the game. He finished with a game-high 18 points. A timely steal and bucket pulled the Eagles even at 45, sending both teams to overtime, which gave Wray a shot of energy heading into the additional four minutes.
"We have so much trust in each other," coach Karson Kuntz said. "Our team chemistry is real. We talk about real energy versus fake energy. We have real team chemistry and these kids genuinely love each other."
They put that trust and that love in each other on display in overtime, grabbing a quick lead and never looking back.
They were solid from the free throw line all night, going 12-for-14, the two missed shots coming when they were up six with less than 10 seconds left on the clock.
That effort gives this team the honor of doing something that has never been done in the school's history.
"I'm so proud of them," Kuntz said. "This has been a five-year journey. The seniors were in eighth grade when I moved to Wray. We won a junior high championship - also the first in school history - and we knew this could be something special."
It was special just in the way the boys fought for it. Arambula boldly told his teammates that he wasn't leaving the World Arena without a championship. Minutes later, he had trophy in arms.
And as he carried it out, he could only think of one thing:
"It's heavy," he said.