Though the crowd roared with applause and players jumped and shrieked in celebration, it wasn’t the game-winning heroics that made Gourneau proud, but what happened after.
Poplar boys basketball coach Frank Gourneau has shared a lot of messages with his team throughout the season. Ironically, the most important had nothing to do with Xs and Os.
“I always tell them, ‘Lose with class and win with class. Try to be as respectful as you can,’” he said.
That message seems to have carried weight. As the final seconds ticked away during Friday night’s Northern B divisional semifinal between Poplar and Fairfield, a game tied 68-68 in overtime, Gourneau watched as his guard Kenny Smoker shot a desperation 3-pointer that went long but happened to find the fingertips of forward Darryl Joe, who gently laid the ball off the backboard and through the net to secure a 70-68 victory.