If his players keep winning state championships, Centennial boys basketball coach Scott Raper says he'll keep letting them shave his head — or he'll even go a step farther.
“They can shave both of my chest hairs if they win it again next year,” Raper joked Friday after his team had buzzed the hair off his head in front of the entire student body to celebrate the school's first state championship.
Raper promised his players last season that if they made it to the state tournament, he'd shave his head, but that team came up short. This year, he upped the stakes, telling them they'd have to win the gold ball if they wanted to see him hairless.
The Bison finished the job, defeating Northeast 64-59 in the Class 3A championship game on March 12.
“I want to let these kids enjoy some of the goofiness of sports,” Raper said. “This was their dream, to see me bald and ugly. But they didn't get anything but bald, so I'm happy with that.”
This is the school's fourth year in existence, and the program has fought through some growing pains, even this year. The Bison began the season ranked No. 12in Class 3A, but made a slow, steady climb toward the top five.
The players felt they were continually being asked to prove themselves as legitimate state title contenders.
“We always felt like we were the step-child,” senior Darius Lacey said. “Nobody wanted to accept us. So we had to prove ourselves.”
But Raper continued to preach blind faith, a message he hopes his senior class has passed along to the younger players.
“It was a great group of seniors. I was glad to have them around,” Raper said. “They passed a legacy on to the next group that will be hard to follow.
“I'm just gonna keep living like we've been living. I haven't come down from the high. I'm just gonna keep doing what we're doing. It's been fun.