Wildcats Take State Championship Title Home


Taken by @negretehighlights

Amory Moore


After a long season for the Lake Highlands’ Boys Basketball team, their hard work finally paid off, granting them a spot in the state championship. The Wildcats won 92 percent of their games with only three losses throughout the season, placing first in the district.

Joseph Duffield, the varsity basketball head coach described the team’s hard work over the last seven months as “building our culture, setting expectations, and sticking to our core values.”

The boys’ hard work and dedication granted them their final spot as eighth in the nation. With 34 wins, the team took home the state championship title on March 11 for the first time since 1968.

Jaire Williams, 12, said, “Knowing that not many people have done it and knowing that no one is ever going to be able to take that experience away from me and my teammates, it motivates me to go and be great at not only the next level of basketball but in life as well.”

Samson Aletan, a senior and future Yale Bulldog, said that the hard work he and the team put in paid off the most as they trusted the grind and competed to make sure they were the best they could be.

“My emotions went through the roof after we won, and with college basketball coming for me next year, it made me want to work even harder to continue to reach goals that I thought were only a dream,” Aletan expressed.

Aletan and Williams’ goals they set for themselves as well as their teammates put them above the rest of their competition. Not all high school basketball teams can be as supportive of each other as the Wildcats.

“We set a goal and we went out for it, but we knew we weren’t going to be able to just get it handed to us,” Williams described. “We knew that it was going to take a lot of dedication, commitment, sacrifice, and overcoming diversity in the process.”

While the team put in countless hours of sweat and tears, the coaching staff undoubtedly cheered the boys on and pushed them to be the best versions of themselves.

“We had an improved coaching staff by adding an assistant coach,” Duffield added. “Our kids had been in a lot of big-time games and environments as underclassmen, so they were prepared for the big moments.”

Williams, unlike some of the other teammates, wonders how good he would be if he dedicated his lifestyle to the sport earlier. “I know my goal is to keep working hard and playing hard to to max out my potential, and when I do, I think there’s no limit to how far I can go in the sport,” Williams added.

Along with personal goals, working as a team and supporting each other is necessary in such a competitive setting. Williams discussed that the team played for each other, something that they hadn’t done much before this season.

While some of the teammates wish they would’ve done a few things differently, Coach Duffield was proud of the team’s hard work. “Everyone stepped up at different times, and so many different people contributed to this state championship,” Duffield said.

Aletan and Williams also commented that a big difference this season was how the team spent time with each other off the court. It helped build the chemistry and created an unbeatable bond.

“I really do appreciate everybody in the community for supporting our every move,” Williams added. Well over 100 Lake Highlands students and families made the trip to San Antonio to cheer on for the Wildcats.

“It was so awesome to see so many people rally around this team and make the trip down to San Antonio,” Duffield concluded. “Lake Highlands is a special community that really supports each other. We will be forever grateful for all the support this season!”

Williams and Aletan concluded by expressing their immense appreciation for the team and the supportive community surrounding their win.

“I’m truly blessed to have been a LH Wildcat!” Aletan said.