DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – After the Russia boys basketball team tragically lost its head coach Dave Borchers before the season started in October, the entire community rallied around the Raiders as they made an improbable and impressive run to their first state semifinal since 2002.

The Raiders battled until the very end in the Div. 4 state semis against defending state champion and undefeated Richmond Heights, but ultimately fell short 66-51 at UD Arena on Friday night.

And for the players and coaching staff, it was all emotion following the tough loss as they remembered Borchers.

“Not having Dave was a big factor on us and we just needed to push through it and get through the adversity and just be dogs like he used to tell us,” said Bradyen Monnin.

“Our community is a very special community and it’s just second to none. They’ve shown an immense amount of support to us this entire year and have filled gymnasiums for four-and-a-half months. It’s just a special place,” said head coach Spencer Cordonnier.

2002 was the program’s first appearance in the final four and they went on to finish state runner-up that year.

The team dedicated their season to their late head coach and implemented the “Be Like Dave” mantra every time they stepped on the floor.