Again within the bowels of Bowie’s glowing, 2-year-old athletic advanced on Friday, Johnson coach Ben Kinnison sat slumped however smiling in opposition to a hallway whereas his gamers celebrated within the close by locker room.
A tough-fought 44-42 win over the Bulldogs had given Kinnison his 200th profession win, not that the fourth-year Johnson boys basketball coach was keen to speak about any particular person achievement.
“This isn’t about any variety of wins or something like that,” he mentioned, motioning to his gamers as they spilled out into the hallway. “That is about these guys. That is about how arduous these youngsters have labored all 12 months.”
Luckily for journalists and different like-minded sports activities historians, the Johnson teaching employees proved extra prepared than their boss to expose the milestone win. However Kinnison’s quiet humility speaks volumes about how the Jags have quicky develop into of on the world’s premier packages. Street journeys like the sport at Bowie have develop into enterprise journeys, mentioned star ahead Quinton Hairston.
“We simply strategy video games by doing the identical factor each evening,” mentioned Hairston, a 6-4 senior who paced the Jags with 15 factors and 9 rebounds in opposition to Bowie. “We don’t must do something uncommon. We simply must hold our heads proper and hold doing what we do.”
Johnson handles pressures of district street sport
Doing what it does has Johnson (25-3, 11-1 District 26-6A) ranked No. 13 within the newest Class 6A sate ballot carried out by the Texas Affiliation of Basketball Coaches, and it has the workforce alone atop the District 26-6A standings after Lake Travis misplaced to Anderson on Friday.
Johnson went 8-17 two years in the past, when Kinnison shepherded this system by means of its first full varsity season. Final 12 months, the Jags went 30-7 and reached the third spherical of the Class 5A playoffs. Now in its first 12 months in Class 6A, Johnson may declare a district title in a 26-6A that features defending Class 6A Area IV champion Westlake.
Profitable maybe its hardest street sport so far in district play solely offered extra proof of his workforce’s psychological toughness, Kinnison mentioned.
“Our guys, particularly our seniors, reminded us of who they’re,” Kinnison mentioned. “They began the varsity these first two years and have been by means of a lot. They grew up rather a lot final 12 months, and so they dealt with tonight like good, sturdy younger males. I’m pleased with them.
“This was an amazing surroundings, and so they (Bowie) have been sport. Luckily, we made sufficient performs down the stretch to get the win.”
That late stretch began on the ultimate possession of the third interval, when Sam McKinney spun into the lane and transformed a layup whereas getting fouled simply earlier than the buzzer. His subsequent free throw gave Johnson a 30-29 benefit, its first lead because the sport’s opening bucket. The 2 groups battled backwards and forwards all through the ultimate interval earlier than McKinney gave Johnson a 42-40 lead on a rim-ratting follow-up dunk after a shot by Jordan Harding rolled off the rim.
Bowie hung powerful within the sport’s waning moments and had an opportunity to win on a determined 3-pointer however stepped out of bounds earlier than getting off a remaining shot.
After Bowie made 5 of 10 3-pointers within the first half whereas scoring 29 factors, the Bulldogs related on simply two of 11 long-distance pictures after halftime.
“Coach go on us within the locker room, so we needed to come out with the power to struggle and be a canine,” Hairston mentioned.
McKinney ended with 14 factors for Johnson, and Jack Untermeyer offered huge minutes off the bench whereas scoring eight factors.
Bowie ‘transferring in the fitting course,’ says coach
Trey Lindsey, Bowie’s first-year coach and an alum of the varsity, took some solace in his workforce’s play regardless of the loss. The Bulldogs had misplaced 4 of 5 district video games previous to a win over rival Austin Excessive of their earlier sport, and Lindsey mentioned his workforce’s efficiency in opposition to Johnson bodes properly for a house stretch heavy with playoff ramifications.
Bowie (15-10, 5-6) enters subsequent week a half-game behind Dripping Springs for his or her fourth and remaining playoff spot and a half-game forward of Anderson.
“We have been in a stoop taking pictures the ball,” mentioned Lindsey, himself a sharpshooter again in his taking part in days for his teaching predecessor, Celester Collier. “We had some guys get open appears to be like tonight, however they weren’t entering into. Now they’re beginning to fall, and we’re seeing them go in.”
Though the Bulldogs ae accomplished with Johnson in district play, they nonetheless should play No. 12 Lake Travis and No. 16 Westlake. Taking Johnson right down to a remaining possession “goes to present us the arrogance that we will play with these workforce, the Johnsons, the Westlakes, the Lake Travises,” Lindsey mentioned.
“We are able to play with anyone,” he mentioned. “We’re hoping we will win a kind of in opposition to Lake Travis or Westlake and deal with our enterprise in opposition to the opposite groups. And there are some actually good groups on this district. You must try to steal a win in opposition to a kind of top-20 groups within the state.
“We challenged our guys (tonight), and so they responded. That was encouraging. I felt this was essentially the most assured we’ve seemed as a workforce because the Christmas break. We’re transferring again in the fitting course.”
Braeden Spinden paced Bowie with 16 factors, together with a trio of 3-pointers. Mason Wasserburer added eight factors off the bench.