The last time the Louise Hornets boys basketball team made the playoffs, junior point guard Rogeric Schooler was in Elementary School.
While the drought has been long, the Hornets Friday night on the road against the Shiner Comanches won and clinched their first playoff berth in 11 years.
“It’s a pretty good feeling that we finally got here in 2020,” Schooler said. “You see nothing but smiles. Everything is happy. Everything is good.”
“This is amazing for us. This is amazing for our program,” Hornets Coach Brian Blank said. “This is the first time in 11 years that Louise has made the playoffs. This is awesome. I’m so proud of our kids. It couldn’t happen to a better group of kids, they deserve this with as much hard work as they’ve had to put in.”
The Hornets on the road played hard defense and made it rain layups and hit timely threes as they picked up the 46-37 win over the Comanches.
“We got off-ball screens, cut to the basket and had easy layups,” Schooler said. “We only shot about 10 threes and made four, everything else was layups.”
Tied after the first quarter, the Hornets’ offense picked up. Daylon Machicek hit a three, Schooler got lose and scored six points and the offense poured in 15 points while Shiner cooled off and Louise went into the half leading 27-19.
Machicek and Matthew Marek hit three three-pointers between them in the third quarter. Shiner’s defense made things hard inside for the Hornets and pushed them to the arc. Comanche’s Lane Remschel and Jared Shimek got some baskets inside and kept pace with the Hornets.
Louise and Shiner traded buckets down the stretch. Shiner down 12 with three minutes left, threw a full-court press at the Hornets. Shiner reeled off a quick 5-0 run to pull within 44-37.
With time ticking away, Shiner started to send Hornets to the line to try and save some possessions. The Hornets didn’t make all their free-throws, they made five of eight which was enough to hold off the Comanches, who like Louise were fighting for a playoff berth.
“We always have to gut it out,” Blank said. “That’s what makes this team so special. They’ve had to fight through so much to get here. We’ve finally made it over the mountain.”
The Hornets season finished 15-11 and 4-6 in District 29. In the three years, Blank has led the Hornets, this was the team’s first multi-win season in the district.
“We’ve built more of a family on this year’s team,” Schooler said. “I think we can all call each other brothers.”
Louise now will spend the next week getting ready for the Port Aransas Marlins who finished first in District 30. The Hornets will play the Marlins, next Wednesday in Bloomington at 7 p.m.