WYLIE, Texas — "I think everybody from the outside looking in sees us as underdogs."
It's a Cinderella story perfect for March Madness.
For the first time in school history, Wylie High School is headed to the state tournament for boys basketball.
"I'm still having trouble believing we are going to state," admitted Wylie junior guard Eli Taylor. "It doesn't feel real."
Taylor was a key reason behind the historic run.
In Saturday's Region II Final, unranked Wylie faced No. 3 Killeen Ellison —a team on a 24-game win streak.
The Wylie Pirates stole the show.
Taylor scored 17 points en route to Wylie's stunning 50-42 victory.
"It took a couple days to set in," joked senior center Tommy Garriga. "Texas is a big state. It's pretty cool to put Wylie on the map."
The Pirates' road to a state championship will next travel to the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Wylie — one of the final four teams in Class 6A vying for a state title — will face No. 2-ranked Dickinson in the semifinals.
Should the Pirates advance, they would likely face the defending champions in the final: the No.1-ranked Duncanville Panthers.
Led by head coach Stephen Peace (a Wylie native and alum), the Pirates are a cohesive unit full of juniors and seniors, but not one Division I recruit.
"It means a lot to me — this AHMO," said Pearce, a husband with two kids, a little boy and girl.
If you're new to Wylie (or Dallas-Fort Worth), you may be wondering — what does "AHMO" mean?
"AHMO" has been Wylie's battle cry since the 1970s. It was the motto for the football team when they won their first state championship and it stuck ever since.
"In literal terms, it means 'AHMO kick your butt,'" Garriga said. "We got to keep it relatively PG-13 for high school."
The battle cry echoed throughout Ellis Davis Field House following Wylie's first Regional Final victory.
The Pirates' fairy tale season continues Friday night at 8:30 p.m.
They hope the slipper still fits.
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