To understand just how much it meant to Therrell Gosier to have the performance he did in the Class 7A boys basketball state semifinals Friday, you have to know the story of how the 6-foot-7 sophomore forward arrived at Blanche Ely.
"I was supposed to come here as a freshman, but my mom wanted me to go to a private school and see how it is over there," Gosier explained of attending Cardinal Gibbons last year. "I really didn't like it, so when I was over there, I kept my eye on Ely basketball."
He said he followed the Tigers' results intently and rooted for them as if he was a part of the team.
"As I saw them winning and winning, I kept telling my mom, I've got to get over there because we're not doing nothing over here,'" Gosier said. "So I just kept begging my mom to get over here. And when I came here [to Ely], I was like, 'I'm going to do whatever it takes for my team win and get back to states.'"
Gosier, who "missed out" on the Tigers' state championship last season, came into Friday's game against Bartow averaging 5.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season as a reserve for the Tigers. And he provided some crucial minutes filling in for Kahlil Thomas, who was plagued by foul trouble the entire game.
"The young man I thought that really came in and did an awesome job was Therrell Gosier," Ely coach Melvin Randall said. "He stepped to the challenge and did extremely well for us."
Gosier finished with five points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes while showing the athleticism that allowed him to break Cardinal Gibbons' 34-year-old freshman record for the 300-meter hurdles last spring.
Gosier said he was motivated going up against Bartow's Chris Perry, a 6-foot-9 senior forward verbally committed to the University of South Florida. Perry posted 14 points and 12 rebounds, but made just 4-of-11 field goals and committed six turnovers.
"When I went into the game, my mindset was just Kill Kill! 'Cause [people] have been saying, 'Who's going to stop Chris Perry?' Chris Perry this, Chris Perry that," Gosier said. "What about us? We put in work just like he does. We put our pants on the same way he does. I just wanted to come out and compete and show that he's not all the hype people put toward him."