The El Campo Ricebirds (13-11, 4-6) season officially came to an end Friday night on the road, falling to the co-district champion Brookshire Royal Falcons 90-55.
The Ricebirds closed the season with four straight losses. Three came via Navasota, Wharton and Sealy by a combined five points. A win in any one of those games would have at least given them an opportunity at a play-in game.
“Those losses were very tough to get over, especially because we were up in all three games,” Ricebird coach Kevin Lewis said. “Against Sealy and Wharton, we were up 10 points at one point.”
Depth hurt El Campo down the stretch, as the Ricebirds starting five needed to play most of the game to stay competitive. The team that went on an eight-game win streak during non-district, was not the same team that finished the year, losing key role players throughout the season.
Despite the final four losses, this was El Campo’s best season in years. The Ricebirds won more district games this year than the last four seasons combined, making it their most successful campaign since 2016. That year they made the playoffs, finishing with 20 wins, seven in district.
“Making the playoffs and winning the state championship is always the ultimate goal, but I definitely think we made some progress,” Lewis said. “(We) definitely have a lot to build on for next year.”
El Campo basketball has had a different basketball coach in each of the last four seasons. However, Lewis plans on coming back next season.
At the start of the season, Lewis’ wanted to bring a new culture to El Campo basketball. The Ricebirds racked up wins and had more of a home-court feel this season withcheerleaders and derby dolls involved. Following a rough start to the season, when basketball was without football players, El Campo closed the year 7-2 at home.
“I believe people’s perception of El Campo basketball has changed a little,” Lewis said.
The Ricebirds will lose three seniors to graduation starting post Reagan Spenrath, Andrew Kresta and Trayton Vaclavik. El Campo will return four starters in junior forward Trinceton Foley, sophomore Rueben Owens II, junior guard Isaiah Anderson and freshman point guard La’Darian Lewis.
“I’m happy with what we have returning,” Lewis said. ‘”I feel like the sky is the limit for us next year and we definitely have some unfinished business.”