St. Joseph Notre Dame players and coaches deserve the community’s hearty congratulations after beating Renaissance Academy for the California Interscholastic Federation Division V boys state championship at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento last Friday. It was a stunning victory: 57-32.
Coach Don Lippi showed he knew how to motivate his team, which lost last year’s state championship by one point.
Before last week’s championship game, Lippi and the team burned a photograph showing the Pilots “as they collapsed on the floor after the devastating 2013 loss,” the school said.
The photograph had been posted in Kelly Gym all season to motivate the team, according to SJND. And, needless to say, it worked.
“I just knew I wanted to end today with a smile, instead of a frown,” said Temidayo Yussuf ’14.
This is the school’s second state championship in four years, and Yussuf’s fourth trip to Sacramento for the California title game.
And there’s more good news: Coach Lippi has been nominated as California Coach of the Year, who has coached varsity basketball for 35 years. He has won three state championships with the Pilots in 2004, 2011 and 2014.
“Everyday I get to interact with our student athletes is a memorable moment,” Lippi said in a report issued by the school.
The award will be announced in June.
(Top photo courtesy of Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group; bottom photo courtesy of SJND.)