MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — March Madness is in full effect across the country and here in Minnesota.

The Boys State High School Basketball Tournament got underway Wednesday at Target Center and Williams Arena. It’s an exciting time for the players and the parents.

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WCCO’s Reg Chapman caught up with our favorite basketball parents, Frank and Amelia, as they watched their son play in the tournament. Sam Vascellaro is one of the top players for St. Thomas Academy, which was in the Class AAA State Tournament.

The race to a Minnesota boys basketball state championship always starts with a pregame ritual. For this group, it’s a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings with family and friends. For this family, everything has to be just right before the game in order for there to be perfect play during the game.

The short walk to Williams Arena gives this basketball family time to get their “cheer plan” in place because once inside, it’s all about who can cheer the loudest for No. 15 of the St. Thomas Academy Cadets.

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Years of hard work pay off on the floor of Williams Arena. For dad, it’s a chance to reflect on just how far his son has come.

“He started playing competitively when he was in about fourth grade,” Frank Vascellaro said. “He’s been playing ever since. Just like every other parents’ kid, it’s fun to see him grow.”

Mom says she just wants her son to enjoy the ride.

“I just want him, I want all of them to enjoy the experience,” Amelia Santaniello said.

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St. Thomas Academy’s season came to an end with a 55-49 loss to Austin. Sam Vascellaro finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds. The Cadets finished the season 23-7.

Reg Chapman