GIDEON, MO (KFVS) - They say there's a first time for everything.
For the Gideon boys' basketball team, that 'first' is playing in the state championships. The team is making history for their school, but their season has been anything but easy.
If there's one thing you should know about the Gideon Bulldogs, it's that they're "ALL IN."
"We've all decided that individual egos and personal stats didn't really mean anything, it's more about coming together as a team and working together, being there for each other and having a good attitude, giving all we had for the team and nothing else," senior Kason Lawrence said.
It's that motto kept them pressing on this season, even when the unthinkable happened in the middle of a game.
"Started out right before the game, got a bad headache," Coach Kennan Buchanan said.
Buchanan had to be flown to a Cape Girardeau hospital, all while his team gathered to pray and then finished out the game for their coach.
"It was pretty rough, but we determined that we were going to dedicate that game to coach," Lawrence said.
He spent five days in the ICU, but, he said, the team was with him every step.
"Everybody was telling me that all your team is out there, a lot of the community was out there waiting. Matter of fact, the hospital ended up having to run them home because we just got too packed and that meant the world to me," Buchanan said.
It's the kind of support that shows that this team isn't just a team, it's a family.
"You know, we tell each other we love each other all the time and it's sincere," Buchanan said.
"It's formed a real brotherhood playing together and it means a lot on our last year to go up to state a represent our town," Allen Earnheart said.
There's no doubt that they'll represent well.
"Everything happened for a reason and that made us what we are today," Dylan Pickard said.
Their compassion is evident through one of their biggest fans, Beau.
"No one better to be around, no one loves basketball more than this guy," Pickard said.
Through their faith, ambition and humility; one thing is for sure, this team will be "ALL IN."
"It's a big blessing to be where we are at," Coach Buchanan said.
"Blocking out everything, the big gym, all the people there. Just go play basketball like we always have," Caleb Buchanan said.
"Can't let the moment become bigger than we are," Lawrence said.
"We've always dreamed of it but it didn't really seem real, it still doesn't really seem real. I don't think it'll really kick in until we finally get there," Lawrence said.
The Bulldogs will take on Walnut Grove on Thursday. Todd and Mary-Kate will have all the up-to-date scores and the highlights in Heartland Sports.