By Jeff Griffith
Gratz downs Lower Merion in Stewart’s first states experience
When Lynard Stewart played basketball at Simon Gratz, the state playoffs weren’t something he was able to take part in; until 2005, Public League teams didn’t participate in the PIAA state tournament.
His first time experiencing states came Saturday afternoon as a part of his first year coaching at his alma mater, and it couldn’t have gone better, as Gratz took down one of the area’s most highly-regarded programs in Lower Merion, advancing in the PIAA class AAAA tournament by a final score of 63-61 in overtime.
“At times it doesn’t hit me until I get a lot of text messages saying ‘congrats,’ because to me I’m just going on coaching, trying to win the next game,” Stewart told CoBL by phone after the win. “It doesn’t hit me until people say ‘good game, well coached,’ and I start realizing, we’re doing something special.”
“To be able to be in (the state tournament) now is something special,” he added. “It’s March, and we’re still playing, I’m still practice planning, it’s exciting for me to be involved in the states.”
That first states experience was certainly a stressful one, as Stewart’s Bulldogs took the Aces into overtime. The final seconds of the extra period were a roller coaster of emotions.