DEER PARK, Ohio -- From the cheerleaders to the crowd in the stands, Deer Park Wildcats fans had been waiting years for Wednesday night, when the undefeated boys' basketball team returned home with its first-ever state championship.
"Oh my God," sophomore point guard Mark Wise said. "It was amazing. It was the best feeling in the world."
The Wildcats' win was especially sweet for families like Diane Daily's, who have stayed with the team through years of discouraging losses.
"We were one of the teams that were getting beat every season," she said. "This year, every win (has) been so, so exciting for everybody."
So what worked turned the losing streak around? Coach Steven Gentry said the team's newfound success is the result of each player learning to dig deeper and persist no matter what.
The community's support didn't hurt, either.
"We clicked," added junior center Joseph Hocker. "We came together as a family."