The Classical Academy boys' basketball team kicked off this past season with a nothing-to-lose attitude.
Because history said so.
The Titans had never won a playoff game prior to this season. Their three previous postseason appearance ended with no victories. Just heartbreak. So, when the Titans were set to play No. 43 Mitchell in the second round of the Class 4A state tournament (after receiving a bye), they felt no pressure.
In the end, TCA had quite a historic postseason run under coach Leo Swiontek, who earned The Gazette Preps 2019-20 Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year honor in his second season. The Titans advanced to the Final Four before the state tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus.
TCA entered the playoffs as an 11th seed. Its first game was against Mitchell, a familiar 4A Colorado Springs Metro League foe. The Titans won 45-40, beating Mitchell for the third time this past season.
Next up was a 56-53 upset win over No. 6 Skyline.
"We're gonna ride this wave," Swiontek said after the game.
The Titans continued their run with perhaps their biggest win of the season — a 42-39 victory at No. 3 Longmont, the 2018 state champion and the 2019 state runner-up to Lewis-Palmer. It set up a matchup against No. 10 Pueblo West before the season was canceled.
"We had high expectations coming into the season," TCA's Micah Lamberth said the week of the Pueblo West game, "but we didn't have any pressure on our shoulders. Why have pressure when you're the underdog the entire season?"
In the playoffs, the three primary scorers for the Titans were seniors Lamberth, Kade Walker and Tyler Trogstad.
"The kids had a peace and they were playing with confidence," Swiontek said. "I think we could have made some noise at state."