SIERRA VISTA — Everyone has their doubts and their doubters.
But for the 2008-2009 Buena High School boys basketball team, the outside noise didn’t matter because they believed in each other.
“We weren’t anything special,” said Cole Colvin, a member of that team and now Buena’s girls basketball coach. “That year was kind of surreal because we weren’t the biggest or the fastest but we played the hardest. We knew we had a lot of heart.”
Derek Lane, a captain on the 2008-2009 squad, said the team’s success was due to the coaching, support and the team’s common goal.
“We all wanted the same thing, we wanted to win,” he said. “Our only concern that year was winning the next game. … We weren’t worried about being recruited, we weren’t worried about what was going to happen next year; our only focus was trying to make the most out of this year.
“You shouldn’t be too worried about what’s going to come, if you’re focused on what's going to happen right now (and) what you can do in the moment, good things will come eventually and that's all we were worried about.”
On Feb. 28, 2009, Lane, his teammates and head coach Dave Glasgow trekked to Mesa for their quarterfinal game against No. 3 Mesa Mountain View with a trip to the final four on the line. Though the team from Sierra Vista had the community’s support all season long, Colvin recalled taking the court for warmups and not seeing any Colts fans in the stands. But when the team returned to the court after their pregame meeting, the Buena fans had found their way to the stands, which made the team more relaxed.
“We didn’t care what anybody said,” Colvin said. “It was more of a pride thing. We just kept pushing along.”
Buena left Mesa with a 61-50 win and punched their ticket to the final four, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished by a Buena hoops team since the ‘70s and ‘80s — despite talented teams that Lane believes could have won a state title in the years leading up to the 2008-2009 team.
“It just happened to work itself out that we were able to get a win on the road against one of the best teams in Arizona high school sports,” Lane said. “We believed in our abilities to play hard, to have a relationship with each other on and off the court, so I think it was expected (to win). “Maybe not from anyone outside of Sierra Vista, Arizona, but in the high school and our community I think we were expected to make it that far.”
At the time, Mesa Mountain View was a powerhouse in Arizona high school basketball. Leading up to the 2008-2009 season, they had won three of the last four state titles and were coached by Gary Ernst — who this past season picked up his 900th career win.
"I have been a head coach for 26 years now and that is far and away the best defensive team I have ever coached,” Glasgow said. “Lane, Miller, and Mackin were all elite defenders. Chavez was deceptively quick and long, and Milburn was athletic and tough."
"We had the best coaching staff in Southern Arizona and continued to for a number of years. Kent Holland was the best spontaneous draw-up guy I have ever worked with, ‘Paco’ Perez was a gifted on-floor teacher, Marlon Humes a perimeter-skill specialist, and JV Coach Rick Shear coached many of the players at the freshman and JV level, and several as far back as early junior high in club ball."
Thursday marked the 10-year anniversary of what many close to Buena High School’s basketball program and athletics consider as one of the most historic wins in school history.
“Nothing feels that old and, obviously, coming up on my 10-year high school reunion, you realize times gone by. It really does feel like yesterday,” Lane said. “For us to go there and virtually no one believe we can win (and) to do that, I think makes it (historic).”