It's practically a rite of prep championship passage: When a team wins a state or regional title, a group of seniors -- or, in smaller sports, an entire team -- head to a postgame press conference with the assembled state media.
So, why did Colfax (Calif.) High's basketball team refuse to speak after winning the San Joaquin Section Division IV title? The team's silence wasn't intended to alienate the press, nor was it a statement of future intent. Rather, Colfax was just doing what it always did: Waiting for the first move from its team leader, Chase Mosier. There was just one problem: Mosier wasn't there, having left the game after just four minutes with a knee injury.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Mosier finally made his dramatic return at the press conference, wheeled in on a gurney, with his leg tightly bound in a temporary cast. His teammates applauded his entrance wildly, then covered his encased leg with the team's championship banner.
For Colfax, Mosier's entrance was emblematic of the team's sectional victory. With their leader out, everyone else stepped in and took turns filling the cracks left by Mosier's absence. It all worked out splendidly in a 53-44 victory over Amador (Calif.) High, even if Colfax wasn't always sure it would end up that way.
"The first thing going through my head was, 'Oh, crap,'" senior point guard Austin Oberg told the Bee. "But we all stepped up and pulled for each other and came out victorious."
Colfax's coach wasn't surprised with his team's resilience, even if it evolved after the departure of his team's talisman.
"When you lose a guy who puts 20-plus points on the board, that's a big loss," Colfax coach Mike O'Connell told the Bee. "This was the ultimate team win. Guys came off the bench and rallied and pulled for each other and won this game. Everybody did great things. ... It's just a great fundamental Colfax-type win."
There's no word on whether Mosier will be able to return for the next step in the state tournament, but one thing is certain: His teammates will be awaiting his arrival, whether he's on the court or cheering from the bench.