The last time it happened, a Clinton was in office — and it wasn’t Hillary.
Not since 1996 has Scripps Ranch High been crowned a league champion in girls basketball. That year, the Falcons captured a second straight league title before capping the season with a San Diego Section championship.
Not one current Falcons player was alive back then.
They started their own party on Thursday night with a 66-14 victory over visiting Our Lady of Peace to clinch at least a share of the Western League title, ending that 20-year drought.
“This group of girls told me two years before they even got to Scripps Ranch that they wanted to win league,” Scripps Ranch coach James Stewart said. “We had a goal to win it within five years. We’re just a bit early.”
Scripps Ranch (16-8, 10-0) was ready to celebrate from the outset. That sentiment grew after Virali Patel, one of nine sophomores on the team, hit a 3-pointer just six seconds into the game.
The Falcons, who won their fourth straight game, raced to a 24-2 lead after the first quarter and never looked back, building the lead so much that the fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
“This makes me feel so amazing,” said Patel, who finished with a game-high 18 points to go with five rebounds. “We worked so hard in practice for this moment. The look on everyone’s face after the game was great.
“We saw we had potential, if we worked hard. Talent is a factor, but not if you don’t put in the work.
“Coach tells us all the time you don’t deserve anything. It has to be earned.”
Scripps Ranch has had almost no success against OLP in the past. The Pilots (11-14, 3-7) now hold a 16-4 edge over the new league champion in the last decade.
In addition to Patel’s scoring, sophomore Katie Chau had 15 points, all in the second half.
“It’s crazy it took this long to win another league,” Patel said. “I want to meet that ’96 team and ask them how hard they worked that year.
“This will put a big target on our back, and that’s a good thing because we know how hard it was to get here.
“Knowing what we finally accomplished will make it easy to sleep tonight and even better to go to class (today).”
That’s a feeling that hasn’t been felt around the campus in two decades.