LAKE CHARLES – For 364 days, Simpson had to live with a 18-point loss in last year's state championship game.
But, just one day to the year, the Broncos got their revenge and were crowned the Class C State champions with a 63-53 win over Summerfield Friday afternoon at Burton Coliseum.
"It's the old storybook ending of a rematch against the team that put you out," Simpson head coach Jade Losavio said. "They are the gold standard of Class C. They have multiple state championships. I said last time that we practice to beat the best teams in the state, and it finally paid off."
The win gives the Simpson boys basketball program its first ever state championship, which seemed far away when it won just two games in 2012.
"I never thought this day would really happen," Losavio said. "I grew up in a small town, played in St. Joe. The best we ever did was go to the second or third round. I've been on a team that literally did not win a game my sophomore year. My first year here, we won two games. I just believe that hard work does pay off. These kids had a goal early this year and at the end of last year. They put it in their heads that they are going to win state."
Senior guard Cameron Bettez led the Broncos with 25 points and 10 rebounds and was named Most Outstanding Player.
"I definitely think (it was my best game) because it was on the biggest stage possible," he said. "I did what I had to do to make sure this team got a win."
The Broncos were the aggressors early, jumping out to a 6-2 lead on three straight layups by Dustin Williams.
Williams finished with eight points, four assists and three steals in his last game as a Bronco.
"My mindset was that we were bigger than them and we have five guys that start or are in our rotation that are six foot," he said. "They can't handle our size, so we have to crash the boards and get easy post points and layups."
Summerfield tied it up early in the second quarter, but an and-1 and a pair of free throws from Landon Hall gave Simpson a 5-point lead.
Hall missed the part of the regular season and time in the playoffs with a medical condition but was able to play in the latter part of the playoff run.
He finished his career on the court with a double-double, posting 14 points and 10 boards.
"It feels great, and when I went out, I never stopped believing in my guys," he said. "I knew they could handle it. It feels great to come back, and I knew we were going to win, no matter what."
Simpson led 31-25 at the break, however, Summerfield took its only lead of the game on a layup by Zakary Kingham with 4:50 to play in the third.
That lead was short lived, as Williams answered immediately with a layup on the other end, which led to an 8-0 run to go up 41-35.
Leading by six to start the final period, Bettez scored Simpson's first 8 points of the quarter – including a pair of 3s.
"I really can't explain it," he said. "It was just an unreal feeling. I just shot it, and it went in. I didn't have any thoughts. Just catch and shoot."
With 2:55 left on the clock, Hall muscled his way up for a layup to put Simpson up double digits for the first time in the contest.
From there, the Broncos defense held on and they hit free throws down the stretch to dethrone the defending champions.
"I was just praying and hoping that those balls go in," Losavio said. "The clock couldn't run fast enough, and finally, when we got up 10 with 17 seconds left, I looked at the bench and said 'can I celebrate now?' and they said yes."