Finally, a Central Section basketball trophy is coming back to Kerman High.
Daniel Rico scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Lions past Bakersfield Christian 55-49 in the Division IV boys basketball championship game Saturday afternoon at Selland Arena.
It is Kerman's first section championship in 63 years, since the Lions won the Shasta Division title in 1955, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
Kerman coach Tim Hurt had his share of coming close. He played on the Lions teams in 1993 and '94 that each lost in the semifinals. Kerman's last championship appearance was in 2008.
Last season, the Lions lost in the semifinals to Madera South 80-70.
It was important to get the top seed "to give us the best chance possible," Hurt said.
"I'm happy for these boys," he said. "They worked hard. This team is about one identity, one goal. They play for each other and the name on the front of jersey and over the one on the back."