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Arcola senior Kollin Seaman, the program's all-time leading scorer, has helped the boys basketball team continue the school's athletic success this calendar year.

It goes without saying, but Arcola athletics' highest point of the last year is its football state championship in November. But the Riders' recent run of success really started on a rainy day in late May.

It started with the Riders' boys track and field team taking home the school's first state trophy not attached to football -- a third place.

Six months later, Arcola completed a 14-0 state championship football season.

Many of the same players from the football team faced a rapid turnaround to basketball season, and the Riders lost three of their first seven games.

Yet they roll on. They've won 17 in a row since then.

"Obviously, the transition is pretty quick," said senior guard Wyatt Fishel, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards en route to a H&R area football player of the year season. "We didn't really want to use that as an excuse. We wanted to use that success we had in football and propel that toward basketball."

They've figured out how to ride the momentum, and they're looking for more trophies as postseason play begins Monday. The Riders are the No. 1 seed in their sub-sectional and, first, chase a regional title on their home court. 

Sure, there was a temptation to hold onto the high feeling of a state championship for as long as possible.

This senior class had been dreaming about it since junior high school, senior Kollin Seaman said, and finally did it.

Instead, the Riders were quick to turn the page. They didn't let it linger.

"We'd already got that done, but then again we're all pretty focused about basketball, too," said Seaman, the team's leading scorer. "It was a pretty smooth transition. It's not like we were lacking chemistry."

No, the team's six seniors were playing varsity basketball when they were sophomores and had played together since grade school.

"We stated from the beginning that we didn't want to use our late start as an excuse, wanted to use it as a motivating factor," Arcola coach Mike Shaffer said. "We weren't totally prepared for the first game because we had three practices and then started playing.

"The fact that, number one, we have six very good seniors who are experienced -- that helps a lot."

At the start of the season, the Riders lost to Tolono Unity, Sullivan and Oblong all by single digits but have gone on to accomplish a lot.

The Riders captured the Little Okaw Valley Northwest Division title on Jan. 29, then the outright conference crown one night later.

They're ranked 10th in Class 1A in the latest Associated Press poll.

Seaman leads the team with 16 points per game. Cole Hutton adds 11.5.

Fishel, the center of attention on the football team, adapts to a different hard-court role like most of his teammates -- his to be more of a setup man.

"We're pretty used to it by now," Fishel said of switching sports. "We're all pretty close friends off the court. We all know our jobs. We don't let our egos get to us. We're all happy to share the ball."

It all can get traced back to the seniors -- Seaman, Fishel, Hutton, Chase and Clayton Strader -- who've put together quite a run during the last year.

The Riders finished the basketball season 16-12 last year but this year, between football and basketball, are a combined 35-3.

"They're very competitive and very athletic group, and they don't like to lose," Shaffer said. "It shows in a lot of situations, in every sport they participate in."

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