Bonner Springs’ best recognized by KVL coaches
Looks like there's something to be said for finishing a season on a high note.
The members of the 2006-2007 Bonner Springs High School boys basketball team know this as well as anybody.
After struggling through most of the season, battling injuries, inefficiencies and inconsistencies along the way, the Braves wrapped up the season with two memorable moments.
The first came two weeks ago when the team reached the sub-state championship game before bowing out to the eventual 5A state champions from Highland Park.
The second came last week, when BSHS seniors Anthony Brown and Matt Caquelin were named to the all-Kaw Valley League first team.
The Braves' top two leading scorers joined 10 other league competitors on the 12-man first team. Seven more were named honorable mention all-KVL.
"It was pretty big," BSHS coach Ryan Hull said of seeing his two seniors named to the team. "It showed that we had the talent this year, our record just didn't end up where we wanted it."
Despite finishing the season at 7-15, the Braves were competitive in most games they played. Hull credits Brown and Caquelin for most of that.
"Those two guys that made (the all-KVL squad) were the reason we were in 20 of our 22 games to the end," he said.
Like Hull, Brown and Caquelin saw their inclusion on the team as a sign of respect for the Bonner Springs program. Despite finishing near the bottom of the league standings, BSHS was just one of three schools to have more than one player on the first team. League champion Basehor-Linwood and runner-up Piper were the other two.
"I think our school's reputation from the past few years helped us," Caquelin said. "It felt great knowing that the coaches who voted saw we had potential. It was a great season, even though we didn't win as many games as we would've liked and this was a great way to end it."
For Brown, landing on the all-league first team was the culmination of a steady climb. The 6-foot-2-inch guard logged significant minutes as a sophomore and started as a junior. In his eyes, becoming one of the elite players in the league was the only option for his senior season.
"At the beginning of the year, I figured that if I played like I did last year, I'd make it," Brown said. "The thing that I'm most proud of though, is that I showed a lot of people that I had heart. It didn't matter if we were down 10 or 20, I wasn't going to quit."
Although the two players possessed talent to begin with, both said they were made better by their teammate.
"I think going so hard against each other, we made each other better," Caquelin said. "I had a lot of fun playing with Anthony. If he really wanted to, he could take over a game."
Brown dished a similar compliment Caquelin's way.
"I had fun playing with Matt," he said. "When he went off, I didn't even want to shoot. There were some nights where, if our starters came out hot, we could've been unbeatable. We gave the best effort we could, things just didn't always fall our way."
But in the end, through the vote of the league's coaches, the Braves found themselves back on top of the league, something Hull will always be proud of.
"The thing I'll remember most about both of them is their dedication," Hull said. "They put a lot in. They were constantly talking about basketball, constantly thinking about basketball. They were very deserving and I was real happy for them to make it."