March 10, 1998 in Nation/World

Vikings Raise Roof, Banner Rally Honors Idaho Hoop Champs

By The Spokesman-Review

With “We Are the Champions” shaking the hardwood floor, the Coeur d’Alene High School boys basketball team unfurled one more banner Monday to line the walls of the school gym.

The ceremony was part of a pep rally to honor the Vikings, who took home their first state tournament championship in 25 years on Saturday.

“It’s a big relief,” shouted Jeff Rupp, 16, a junior guard, as the pep band warmed up before the rally. “Twenty-five years over our head and now it’s gone.”

The victory is particularly poignant for head coach Larry Bieber, who took over the top spot four years ago when his senior stars were freshmen.

“Those nine seniors and myself have been working for this for four years,” Bieber said. “It really hasn’t hit yet what has happened.”

Senior center Kurt Sigler, 17, said he woke up Monday morning to hear a radio announcer calling Coeur d’Alene the “city of champions.”

“It’s just great,” Sigler said.

The Vikings defeated Borah 56-53 in a last-second victory.

The seventh title in school history came on the 70th anniversary of the school’s first basketball championship.

Exuberant students, who stood and cheered for most of the rally, said the victory is something for the entire community to take pride in.

“It’s pretty awesome, our first in 25 years,” 16-year-old sophomore Lara Bergen said. “We’re proud of them.”

With signs of congratulations displayed in store windows around the city and a high school gym brimming with cheering fans, Bieber said his team won’t soon forget its trip to Nampa.

“The nine seniors are going to move on,” Bieber told the crowd at the pep rally. “And they’ll have the greatest memory they can have. They won it all.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

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