Hectic, yes, but the Maryknoll Spartans would have it no other way this week.
The Spartans rode a No. 1 ranking and top seeding in the Snapple/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships to a state crown on Saturday night, setting off a week of celebrations across the community. Maryknoll capped the season with a 50-34 win over Punahou in the final, completing a 30-2 season.
That included a ceremony on Thursday morning in the Maryknoll Community Center with the entire student body in attendance. On Wednesday, early in the morning, they made an appearance on TV.
“We were on Hawaii News Now yesterday and then Mr. (Perry) Martin, our president, took us to a wonderful brunch,” Spartans coach Kelly Grant said. “They knew they were coming here (to the gym) today, but they didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. It’s kind of a surprise.”
Nikko Robben is part of a senior class that leaves a legacy of discipline, work ethic and sacrifice. The senior was perhaps the most unselfish of the Spartans, running the offense, playing tough defense and never complaining. He and his teammates enjoyed the company of hundreds of grade-school level students at the ceremony.
“I think it’s really good because we can give back to the community and support everybody who supported us. This is for them. We’re like role models to them, so if we can have a good attitude and show the young kids all the positivity we bring, maybe it’ll transfer onto them, so when they become high schoolers they can follow in our footsteps.”
With the title victory at Stan Sheriff Center, the championship trophy became property of the Spartans. It is a crown that was 35 years in the making. Grant was a senior on the 1984 squad that won the only other boys basketball state crown.
“We had a ceremony (that year) at the grade school between the two buildings because we didn’t have a gym yet. We walked over and gave a congratulatory thank you to our fans who came to the game,” he said. “That was wonderful. This year, when Punahou did their cheers and when Maryknoll did their cheers, we knew that we had more Maryknoll fans there. Nothing against Punahou, but we felt that.”
Robben is a junior