The state champion H-F High boys basketball team enters Mall Auditorium following their coach, Jamere Dismukes, trophy held high, for a celebration Sunday, March 10, of the team's accomplishments. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
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H-F High community celebrates triumphant boys basketball team with state championship trophy ceremony

H-F Vikings fans gather in the school’s Mall Auditorium on Sunday to celebrate the boys basketball team’s state championship. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

After the thrill of winning Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s first state basketball championship, the Viking players and coaches had an opportunity Sunday, March 10, to cherish the moment as the H-F community came out to celebrate their achievement. 

The Vikings prevailed over Normal Community on Saturday night in a 60-48 to win the state title.

The state champion H-F High boys basketball team enters Mall Auditorium following their coach, Jamere Dismukes, trophy held high, for a celebration Sunday, March 10, of the team's accomplishments. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
The state champion H-F High boys basketball team enters Mall Auditorium following their coach, Jamere Dismukes, trophy held high, for a celebration Sunday, March 10, of the team’s accomplishments. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

The bus arrived from Champaign about noon with a fire department escort, and at 12:30 p.m. players, coaches and fans congregated in Mall Auditorium with the Illinois High School Association Class 4A championship trophy prominently displayed on stage.

Athletic Director Matthew Lyke announced the historic victory and introduced Vikings Head Coach Jamere Dismukes. 

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Dismukes thanked not only the players, staff and administration but the whole community for its support. He recalled that he had been in a previous coaching job in the area for only three months when the H-F head coach job opened up, and he jump at the chance. 

He noted that although the team performed well early in the season, it included a number of new players and had not quite formed the bonds that would help it continue to win throughout the season.

“I thought we became a real team after Gonzaga Prep beat us by 30 points. After that, these guys banded together, especially the seniors. They said, ‘That’s not happening again.'”

The team suffered three more losses, but Dismukes said none of the players got discouraged by those setbacks. He said they came off every loss ready to go to work, living up to the team’s theme of resiliency. The Vikings ended up with a 33-4 record.

“Homewood-Flossmoor has all the resources and tools to do this every year. And we have support,” Dismukes said. “Get used to this feeling.”

He said after the team’s last practice, he told the seniors to embrace the experience of playing in the state tournament because it was their first and last chance. 

“But to the juniors, I said ‘Fight hard, play hard for the seniors, but juniors, y’all gonna be back next year,'” he said. 

Pam Jackson was among the Board of Education members at the ceremony, but before it began she posted on Facebook her appreciation for Dismukes.

“It is worth nothing and anyone aspiring to be a great leader can learn from this young man.  If you have listened to any of his post game interviews the first thing you will notice about him is he has humility,” she said. “He said when they went in the locker room at the second half of the New Trier game he didn’t say much to them to get them fired up. He let them talk.  They fired each other up. This is a sign of trust, great coaching and development, solid leadership, and knowing how to galvanize a group of young men to winning.”

Lyke also noted Dismuke’s leadership and confidence. He said during the past week, “I guess I wore all of the stress on my face. Even coach saw it. He said, ‘Relax. we got you.’ And they did it,” he said. 

Lyke then put the final punctuation on the ceremony. 

“On behalf of the athletic department we proudly accept the state championship trophy for boys basketball,” he said.

And with that, fans were invited to join players on stage or in the lobby for photos.

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