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Runnels basketball looking to make state finals run in last ever season

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BATON ROUGE – It was a statement game Thursday night from the Runnels High School Raiders basketball team. That statement: we are not going anywhere yet.

The team is trying to take this season all the way to the state finals, especially since this is their last opportunity to do so. Runnels High will be ending classes after the spring semester due to low enrollment.

For this team, there’s a drive to be the best that’s behind every pass and every point scored.

"We knew we had to come out strong,” Runnels senior Phillip Lukinovich said. 

It’s well known that every school wants to bring home a state title, but for Runnels basketball team, their shot clock is ticking down.

"I think these guys just want to go out strong, go out well,” Head coach Ben Young said.

The high school’s closure has been in the back of everyone’s minds, including the team’s head coach.

“It's a little surreal. I played here and have been coaching here for 10 years,” Young said.

Young said the school’s inevitable fate has only pushed his team to perform at a higher level.

"I’d like to say it's not but at the same time it's like everybody knows it so you're gonna give it a little bit more,” Young said.

"Yeah, it's definitely driving us. We have a good chance to go to the finals this year,” Lukinovich said.

The district champs were clearly on a mission Thursday night against the University Academy Lions. The Raiders stormed the court from tip-off and did not let their foot off the gas for one minute.

"It sucks. It hurts me but I think more of the juniors and the sophomores. They're not gonna get the same experience I got. And they're not gonna be able to finish out here. I can't even imagine playing for a different team,” Lukinovich said.

FINAL SCORE: Runnels – 88 University Academy - 47

The team will play its last ever home game next week in the semi-final round of the high school division V playoffs.

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