Last year’s GRC seniors missed Sweet 16, return to cheer on ‘family’ this year

WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – For the second year in a row, the boys basketball team at George Rogers Clark High School qualified for the Sweet 16 State Championship.

“Playing in Rupp Arena is one of the biggest arenas in college basketball only 16 teams get to play in it,” explains John Gwynne, a former basketball player for the team.

“In high school going to rupp that’s like the biggest dream you can have,” recalls KJ Rucker, another former member and graduated senior from the team.

But not everyone from last year’s team gets to live that dream.

KJ Rucker and John Gwynne are two graduates who were supposed to go to the state tournament last year, but couldn’t because covid canceled it.

“It hit us like a truck,” remembers Gwynne.

“We worked for years and we finally get there and it got taken away and it kinda hurt us a little bit,” explains Rucker.

This year, when the Cardinals claimed a spot at the tournament once again, they had a little surprise for those alums who didn’t get to play last year, free tickets to see them play.

“They kind of won it for us because we didn’t get to last year,” says Rucker.

And while they won’t be on the court themselves, they’ll be there in the stands, showing support and displaying some big brotherhood.

“The kids on the team now I look at them like they’re my little brothers so if they need me they know they can hit me up any time and before every game I text them — I just want to see them succeed,” says Rucker.

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