There wasn’t even a hint or whiff or single trace of shame or even disappointment in Chris Lun’s voice and facial expressions late Saturday night. His Walt Whitman High School boys’ basketball team had just been throttled by Henry A. Wise, 70-43, in the Class 4A state championship, and yet, he saw only the positives.
He discussed the somewhat astounding amount of Whitman fans — or Whitmaniacs, as they are affectionately known around the school — the “magical run” his Vikings, perpetually considered an underdog, had taken to the Comcast Center; the overall experience of playing for a state championship as the county’s final representative. Not once did he say his team could have done this better or that better, Wise had simply been that good.
“We hope that [the fans] are proud of this team,” Lun said. “Not many people gave us a chance.... It was just a great run and a great season, just awesome, and we lost to the much better team tonight, and that’s OK. That’s OK.”
Was it the storybook ending for the Vikings? No. But it was a much longer book than many may have expected. Five straight wins landed them in this championship game, including toppling Montgomery Blair, Clarksburg, and Annapolis. Whitman had silenced the doubters well before the ref tossed up the basketball for tipoff. As Ben Castagnetti would say, Whitman had firmly planted itself back “on the map.”
“It was absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “Our support has been absolutely amazing this entire year. They’ve come out to every one of our games in full force and to see our stadium packed like that, it’s going to be something I’m going to be able to remember forever and it was just awesome to be able to bring that many people and have that many people stay until the end…. I think we put Whitman basketball back on the map and we’re definitely a force to be reckoned with.”
— Travis Mewhirter