Pass Christian honors its state championship squad
May 22, 2009Pass Christian High School
PASS CHRISTIAN - Eric Dawkins remembers what the Pass Christian Pirates went through in October. The line drills, the extra free throws, the long days on the floor.
Of course, it all paid off five months later.
"From the first day of practice," Dawkins said, "it seemed like everybody was on the same page."
Pass Christian High School paid tribute to its first state championship team in any sport on Tuesday night, holding a ring ceremony for the Pirates squad that slipped past Raymond 52-50 for the Class 3A state championship in March.
All members of the program, including the freshmen and junior-varsity players, received rings. It was an amazing feat, in the estimation of veteran coach Buddy Kennedy, considering what the school went through after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"Of the 26 players we had that summer," Kennedy recalled, "only 11 came back when the school reopened, when we were in trailers. Eventually we got a few more. But I was proud of that team. We made the first round of the playoffs."
The freshmen on that team - Dawkins, Blake Evans, Demetrious Lee and a few others - were seniors for the Pirates' state championship squad. Pass Christian finished the season 33-3, avenging a loss to Raymond in the South State title game by edging the Rangers at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
Lee has accepted a scholarship to play for Jones County Junior College, while Dawkins plans to walk on at Mississippi State while he studies computer science.
"This was a very special night for our team," Lee said. "To be a part of a state championship team ... I was proud of the girls track team (at Pass), winning state, too ... We just had real good chemistry."
The crowd on hand watched a video of the Pirates' run through the state tournament, and Kennedy had a touching tribute to the late Dariane Cameron, a team manager who died in an automobile accident in April. Kennedy presented a state championship ring to Cameron's parents, Monique Brown and Howard Cameron.
"Dariane always had a smile on her face," Kennedy said. "She lived life to the fullest."
Blake Evans, the senior guard who hit the amazing shot and subsequent free throw in the final seconds against Raymond, was not present for the ceremony.
Kennedy said Evans was invited to the event but finished the semester at Bay High.