Okarche's five starters dreamt about this.
The group of underclassmen who consider themselves best friends — three are cousins — had long dreamed of celebrating a state championship on the State Fair Arena floor.
They got their moment Saturday when Okarche beat Cheyenne/Reydon 59-47 to win the Class A girls basketball title.
“It's so much better than I ever thought it could be,” Madi Grellner said.
Morgan Vogt 21 points and 12 rebounds led the way for the Okarche Lady Warriors, who after building a 20-point lead midway through the second quarter never let Cheyenne get closer than nine.
Okarche players and fans also had the memory of senior Lee Brueggen on their minds. As time ticked down, Okarche's crowd started chanting the name of the 18-year-old who was killed in a Nov. 30 car accident just outside of town.
“He was always in our student section cheering us on,” Madison Lee said, choking up. “It was good to win it for him.”
Okarche's fourth state title came with an ample helping of redemption. The Lady Warriors atoned for last year's title-game loss to Frontier.
‘That was the worst feeling ever,” Morgan Vogt said. “Watching them celebrate on the floor last year left us wanting never to experience that again. We wanted to be the ones celebrating.”
They also made up for a 41-40 loss to Cheyenne/Reydon in last last week's area finals, forcing Okarche into the consolation bracket.
“It's redemption,” Kenadey Grellner said. “It means a lot — even more after we lost to them earlier.”
Okarche hit 23 of 30 from the free-throw line, including 8 of 9 from Kenadey Grellner in the fourth quarter. Rae Grellner waited to celebrate until another cousin, Madi Grellner, hit a pair of free throws with 1:34 left to put Okarche up by 15.
Morgan Latta led Cheyenne/Reydon with 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting.