The Saint Peter’s University’s Cinderella run may have come to an end this past Sunday, but Jersey City ‘s excitement kept on going.
Peacock pride was on full display in Jersey City on Friday to salute Saint Peter’s University’s historic NCAA Tournament run.
There was a huge show of support Friday afternoon, as hundreds of people lined the streets cheering on the team during a parade that wrapped up with a rally and a special presentation.
As CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reports, after an incredible run in the NCAA tournament, Friday was all about celebrating the Saint Peter’s basketball team.
Although they’re no longer in the tournament, the team is certainly in the history books. Not only did the team make March Madness history, they put the small school – and Jersey City – on the map.
The team thanked the community for their support through the tournament, which only continued Friday.
Jersey City was bursting with Peacock pride, celebrating a streak that caught so many by surprise.
“Everyone loves an underdog story,” said Sally Milad.
Milad, a Saint Peter’s alumna, went to Philadelphia to cheer on the men’s basketball team to the Elite Eight.
“Even though UNC beat us, everyone was like, you know, we were rooting for you guys. So it was amazing. It was just something you can’t really explain,” Milad said.
She joined so many lining John F. Kennedy Boulevard to support the team in a parade featuring bands, floats, local schools and – of course – the city’s new celebrities, the players.
While teams are typically celebrated for tournament wins, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said their accomplishments this season are reason enough to rally. DeAngelis caught up with him during the parade.
“It’s great for the city. It’s great for the team. It’s great for Saint Peters University. We couldn’t be more proud,” Fulop said.
The team was the Cinderella story of the tournament, beating Kentucky in the first round, Purdue in the Sweet 16, and becoming the first number 15 seed in NCAA history to reach the Elite Eight.
“We didn’t think we could make it this far. Look at this,” said player Isiah Dasher.
The celebration continued with a ceremony. The proud players thanked supporters who surrounded the stag3e.
“So happy with what we accomplished. Make no mistake, none of it would have been possible without everyone here,” said player Doug Edert.
“We couldn’t have made it without you,” said player KC Ndefo.
Although Shaheen Holloway is leaving Saint Peter’s for Seton Hall, where he was once a star player, he’s certainly left his mark.
“We made history. Love you gus. Thank you,” Holloway said.
At the rally, Fulop also gave the team the key to the city. Now let’s hope the momentum, and support, continues into next season.
School and community pride was on full display Friday in Jersey City.
Plucked from obscurity to the toast of the town, the Saint Peter’s bandwagon is overflowing.
“And I follow the Peacock games, I prayed for them, I know they was going to win. I’m still proud of them,” said Jersey City resident Florence Ibrahim.
Jersey City residents say the mood and morale around town have been uplifted.
“You could feel the energy in the air. And I think everybody was just really proud of what they did,” said Fred Trelfa.
“Let me just tell you, I became a resident over 20 years ago and I’ve been riding with them since,” another person said.
Kids were especially excited.
“Yeah, I’m really proud. I’m so happy that they made it this far,” said an 11-year-old named max.
Schools let out early in Jersey City so students could attend the parade to cheer on – and be inspired by – the team that exceeded everyone’s expectations.
“You could feel the energy in the air. And I think everybody was just really proud of what they did,” said eighth grade Aniyah Roberts.
Even after the music fades, there’s the feeling that the home team pride will live on. Even the streets were painted with Saint Peter’s blue and white. Proof that, at least for now, the road to March Madness goes through Jersey City.