The Sweet 16-bound Saint Mary's College men's basketball team received a police and fire escort Saturday night as they returned to campus after upsetting Villanova.
The spur-of-the-moment event was quickly pieced together after the underdog Gaels won their first two games in the NCAA tournament. The team flew home from the South Regional in Providence, R.I.
The team landed at Oakland International Airport and drove to Miramonte High School in Orinda.
"You've got to hand it to Coach (Randy) Bennett and (center) Omar (Samhan)," said spokesman Michael McAlpin. "They adjusted and this is a defining moment for them."
Moraga mayor Ken Chew helped organize the escort.
"This is great for the town and college and it's going to put Moraga on the map," he said. "This is exciting. This is unprecedented."
The mayor took some heat in Saint Mary's first round game against the Richmond Spiders. His oldest son plays Division I soccer for Richmond, so he had mixed emotions.
"I said I'd toss a coin. Whoever wins gets me rooting for them in the first half, and then I'll root for the other team in the second half," Chew said with a laugh. "Now, I am fully behind Saint Mary's."