BORDEN — Throughout ancient history, tales abound about perilous travels home for those who fought the Trojan army. On Saturday, the boys of Borden didn't need a hollowed wooden horse to conquer the Triton Trojans, winning for the first time in school history the Class A boys' basketball state championship. And although they didn't encounter any trouble on their return home, the journey was still something of an epic for this small town Hoosier team.
Only four hours after their Saturday victory, adoring fans lined the streets of the rural town to welcome home the new champs. Letters on local billboards had already been updated and horns honked at passing cars to alert the world, or at least their section of it, to the celebration. Along with their recently acquired trophy, the team arrived as they had left the previous morning, on a yellow school bus. But this time around, a plethora of sirens and fireworks led the way back to the hometown they love.
In Borden, this is the stuff of which legends are made.
Crowds surrounded the bus as the boys entered the high school for a pep rally honoring their historic win. More than a thousand fans gathered in the gym to show their support, an impressive number considering only 800 people live in the town.
BHS Athletic Director Toby Cheatham is one of these lifelong residents. Once the players were introduced, he addressed the standing-room-only crowd. Leading up to the championship, the town had been compared to Milan, the storied team portrayed in the 1986 movie “Hoosiers.” From the beginning, Cheatham said he spoke to the boys about writing their own narrative.
“I always tell the boys, 'Hey look. Keep writing the story. We have one more chapter to go,'” he said to fans.
Former Braves have been waiting for quite a while to see how this particular chapter would end. Borden grad Janice Carter said the school has always been an essential part of the community. Connections run deep in the town. If people aren't related by blood to these team members, almost all have known someone throughout the program's past who has played ball on its courts.