Varsity basketball makes it to the third round of playoffs

Corinne Piorkowski, Sports Editor

NOTHING BUT NET: Senior varsity member Cade Holzman takes a shot against an opponent in one of the playoff games this year. The team went to three rounds of the playoffs before ultimately being eliminated. PHOTO COURTESY OF HD Flores

After making it to the third round of the playoffs, the boys basketball season has come to a close. They finished in third place in the district behind Westlake and Lake Travis.

Towards the end of the season and in the playoffs, there were some truly incredible performances.

In Bowie’s last game of the regular season, the Bulldogs defeated Austin High 69-51. In this game, senior guard and Army basketball commit Coleton Benson scored 53 points.

“It was crazy, it just felt like anything I shot was going in. I only missed four shots the whole game too,” Benson said. “After the game I was just thinking to myself, wow, I really just dropped 53.”

The incredible performance by Benson and the entire team shocked players, fans and coaches alike.

“That was an amazing night; one shot led to the next and the players could feel Coleton in the moment,” head coach Celester Collier said. “The bench and teammates were all excited and knew the ball was going in; It was an amazing performance and as a coach, I was proud.”

In the playoffs, Bowie defeated Westwood in the first round and San Antonio Judson in the second round, but lost in the third round to San Antonio Clark.

“I’m really proud of us. We fought hard and did way better than anyone would’ve thought we would do,” Benson said. “We obviously knew we could be successful this year and that’s why we did what we did this year; it was rewarding to see all of our hard work pay off in the playoffs after everything we’d been through.”

The team also was able to put together some exciting highlights during their playoff run, which were broadcast on different social media platforms.

“My favorite moment in the playoffs would be when I stole the ball from a kid on San Antonio Judson in the second round of the playoffs and flushed on a fast break dunk,” senior forward LD Butler said.

A team’s initial goal for the regular season was to make the playoffs and that’s what the varsity team accomplished with a collaborative effort from both the coaches and the players.

“Advancing each round in the playoffs gets a little more exciting each time, even though the first game is always the toughest one and beating Westwood 55-40 was huge, and in the second round, beating San Antonio Judson and scoring our season high of 84 points was a good feeling,” Collier said. “In the third round, we lost a heart-breaker at the buzzer to San Antonio Clark 48-46, but I am still proud of how the boys played all season.”

In the whirl of craziness brought about in 2020 and 2021, with the pandemic among other setbacks, the varsity team prevailed and lasted in the playoffs among other great teams.

It was a total team effort and a special group of young men; I believe I learned more from them than they learned from me.”

— Celester Collier, Head Coach

“It was a fun season and a good year, finishing 20-5 and going to the third round of the playoffs despite the adversity we had to go through with COVID-19 protocols and the winter storm,” Collier said. “We couldn’t practice during the winter storm week and practiced at Hays High School while there was water damage at Bowie; the whole team was resilient.”

Throughout the year, the performance of individual players and the team overall improved, which is what a team hopes for at the beginning of a season.

“Our defense was really good in the whole playoff series and we started playing our best basketball in the second half of district play,” Collier said.

The team worked hard to overcome obstacles throughout the season.

“The team’s biggest improvement would be us learning how to play through adversity when things weren’t going our way,” Butler said. “Our defense improved; we became more aggressive and started to talk more, which helped us create a flow for offense.”

With the conclusion of this season, the coaches will prepare to build new rosters as the senior players graduate and move on, which is a process the coaches are familiar with, even though it is difficult to let go of influential senior players.

“It’s always the next man up; we lost a lot of good seniors the year before this, such as Riley McIntyre, Ethan Walker, Jayden York and Drew Dunsmore,” Collier said. “This is an opportunity for the next group to step up and a chance for this year’s juniors to step up.”

With their experience, this year’s seniors can give advice, tell stories to, and ultimately prepare new juniors, sophomores, and freshmen of what it’s like to play varsity basketball and have a productive season like the team did this year.

“What I’m going to miss most from Bowie basketball would be the thought of not being able to play one more game with my guys,” Butler said. “I love them a lot, and basketball has brought us closer together.”

Team chemistry can develop friendships that last much longer than the time spent in long practices and on the court.

“I’m going to miss Coach Collier, my teammates, and the culture of Bowie basketball,” Benson said.

In the next couple of years, more changes will be coming to varsity basketball that will hopefully improve the team, allowing the players to improve even more every season.

“I’m excited about getting an opportunity to play in the new gym next year,” Collier said.

Older players can also reflect on key younger players for next season and evaluate how they are going to help lead the team to an even better season than the one that the team had this year.

“My boys Branden Myart, Noah Vasquez, and all the other juniors will step up next season,” Benson said.

The whole team, coaches, parents, and boosters worked long and hard hours to push forward through the obstacles of this year and make this basketball season memorable.

“It was a total team effort and a special group of young men; I believe I learned more from them than they learned from me,” Collier said.