Keys to Victory

Winning the State Championship
By Brad Winters

As the horn blew signaling the end to the 2001 LHSAA Class C State Championship game, I looked up at the Cajun Dome jumbo scoreboard and it read FCA 68 - Pelican 63. At last, we did it... FCA State Champions! What a great moment for our team, our fans, our school, and especially for the Coach. I truly believe we won the State Championship this year because we were the hardest working team in the state, we played unselfish team basketball, and we specialized in playing great defense.

Brad Winters Basketball State Championship Team
The 2000-01 FCA team was captained by Kase Gonzales and Joshua Winters. From left: Chris Brooks, JP Dunn, Daniel Barett, Gentry Williams, Caleb Winters, Joshua Winters, Mark Davis, Camille Harrison, Chad Mansuer, Kase Gonzales, Jason Argraves, Kyle Jones, Alec Harrelson, and PJ Thomas.

One of my favorite quotes, by Rick Pitino, is "Deserve Victory." To me, to "Deserve Victory," means you are willing to go the extra mile to be your best. This year at FCA we did that. We trained like we were preparing to go to the Olympics to win the gold medal. I have never been around a group of young people who sacrificed and paid the price like these guys. Everyday they came to the gym as a group and did everything that we asked them to do. Some days after running three miles, practicing basketball for 2 hours, and then lifting weights for another hour, they would be so tired; they could barely walk out of the gym to go home. My players and I knew, without a shadow of doubt that we deserved to be State Champions.

Another major reason for our success this season was "unselfish team basketball." I can't tell you the number of times people complimented me on how well we played team basketball. Team basketball is about not forcing shots, making the extra pass, and attacking the basket to pass, not shoot. When five guys are playing as one on the court, basketball is a beautiful game to watch. Many times I would stand on the sideline in awe watching the FCA Flames in action.

Finally, the old cliché, "Defense Wins Championships," held true with this group. We teach and believe that playing great defense is all about "heart" and "hustle." Our ball-hawking, floor slapping, in your face defense, wrecked havoc upon our opponents. For the year, we held our opponents to an average of only 48 points per game. Against a good Parkview Baptist team, 3A by the way, we held them to only 23 points for the whole game... That's outstanding!

In conclusion, thanks for a wonderful year. You have truly earned all your many awards and honors. I don't know if I will ever have a better or more enjoyable team to coach than this one. But with all my players returning next year, a great schedule, and a whole summer to prepare, I look forward with enthusiasm to the challenge of winning State again next year. Again, thank you!

Can you say, "Back-to-back State Champions?" I can!

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