Fort Myers basketball team celebrates national championship

Posted at 1:55 PM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 13:55:14-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For years, Saint Michael Lutheran School in Fort Myers has been among Southwest Florida's elite basketball programs.  This year, they took their game to new heights, traveling to Indiana and winning their first-ever national championship.

On any given day you can catch kids playing ball at Saint Michael Lutheran School.  It’s a small school -- only 330 kids -- but the number of championship players and championship banners are markings of what makes it a powerhouse.

But what you won’t normally catch at Saint Michaels is the image of Boys Basketball Coach Robert Schaff getting his head shaved by his players, just after returning from the Lutheran Basketball National Championship.

“So I said ‘if we win, I would shave my head.’  And not thinking it all really could come true.”

So let the blade meet the shaving cream, because it did come true. And students cheered on the coach and the players in a pep rally to celebrate.

“We had to beat teams from 5 different states, from Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Nevada, and then Texas in the final game.”

They won that final game by nine points, bringing the school and its coach of over 30 years its first national championship.

“Hard work pays off.  That’s what it comes down to, is putting the time in. I have a couple boys who come in 6:30 every morning just to shoot for an hour.”

And it’s that work ethic that allowed them to do what every team in March wants to do: cut down the nets and bring the trophy back home.

The girls team didn't come back empty handed either.  They finished in third-place in the national championship.