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Postcards From The Pandemic: Shaker Student Misses State Championship

The Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled all ongoing winter sports tournaments on March 26, just days after Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statewide stay-at-home order. The decision stripped student-athletes across the state of their chances to compete for state championships.

The Division I boys basketball tournament had nine teams remaining before the tournament was canceled. One of those teams was the Shaker Heights Red Raiders.

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Dakota Cochran, a senior forward on the Shaker Heights High School boys basketball team scored 28 points against McKinley High School in the March 11 regional semifinal game. It turned out to be his last basketball game as a Red Raider. 

"Not a lot of people can say they won a state championship at their school, and I felt like I was going to be able to say that," said Cochran. "That's an accomplishment that you'll remember forever, but I won't get to have that memory because it just got taken away."

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Number 11 Dakota Cochran and the Red Raiders won its district championship before playing in the regional semifinal. [Dakota Cochran]

Last Chance

It's my senior year. I'm trying to go out a winner. We won districts. We won our first regional game. And it was just ecstatic to be where we were, but sad that it was short lived.

When I found out it wasn't going to happen, it was just like, a shocking moment. Like, I was just stuck. Like, dang. I'd rather go out losing or something. I cannot believe this is really happening.

That was really my last game. Just sad but it's like, can't do nothing about it.

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Dakota Cochran with an uncontested dunk in his junior year. [Dakota Cochran]

Memories Made

All of my teammates that I talked to had the same thing like, we all kept faith that it was going to get rescheduled, 'til the news broke that it wasn't.

We just reminisced on how much we loved each other and how much of a brotherhood we are.

Different From Football

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Cochran also played on the Shaker Heights football team. After graduation, the A-student will attend Central Michigan University and will play linebacker for the CMU football team. [Dakota Cochran]

When the football season ended, we knew it was going to end there. When week 10 came, all of the seniors knew that it was the last game.

We just played our best, and it was just heartbreaking. It was over. People cried. We cleaned out our lockers. Didn't get home until like 11. Probably cried there some more. 

But it was just over, and we knew that. We just had to go on. 

But with basketball it just doesn't feel like it's over because we didn't lose. 

Raider Nation

It was just hard when I realized that I won't ever compete with Shaker because Shaker is all I know.

It's just like, 'Wow,' it's really over. 

I'm ecstatic to be a Red Raider. It was a great four years.

I wouldn't want to be anything else. 

The community was behind us the whole time, and I just appreciate everybody.

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