B-5 District Champions


Photo Credit to the Alliance High School Twitter account

Shelbee Burke, Staff Writer

An estimated 1200 people attended the Boy’s B-5 District Basketball game at Alliance High School on Saturday, February 29 and over 800 tuned in on the Striv Livestream. With a constant battle of the bands, cheerleaders motivating the players and a gym so loud with fans of both teams cheering and shouting almost constantly, there were times you could not even hear the person next to you. It was an intense neck and neck fight the whole game, until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs began to pull away. The Alliance Bulldogs defeated the Lexington Minutemen 66-56, punching their ticket to compete at the state basketball tournament back-to-back years. 

The starting lineup for the Alliance Bulldogs included senior Joel Baker at point guard, senior Trevor Dubray as a guard, senior Kaden Kindred and junior Caeson Clarke as forwards and senior Bradyn Palmer as the center.

Four of the five starters were able to hit double figures in scoring, and the fifth, Dubray, was close with 8 points. Palmer was the leading scorer with 18 points, and Clarke followed close behind with 17. Baker was able to hit 11, and Kindred scored 10. Clarke had ten rebounds, being the only one of the boys to reach a double-double for the game. Palmer had seven boards and four assists. Dubray and Kindred also had four assists. A key aspect of the victory was that the boys limited themselves to twelve turnovers and the two-point field goal percentage was 70% with 21 out of 30 shots made. 

Alliance High School senior players, Trevor Dubray, Konnor Farritor and Kirk Sanders all expressed that they were extremely confident going into the game and that they knew they had a chance to win. Dubray explained that the difference between this year and last year was, “It was home, there was a bigger crowd and there was more adrenaline.” He went on to say, “as soon as you run out on the court, your heart stops and chills run down your body. It was amazing.”

Farritor explained that, in his opinion, the best parts of the game were, “When a big play happened and the student section would go crazy.” Dubray agreed adding, “running out on the court at the beginning of that game, hearing the crowd and winning the game.” Farritor remarked that the most memorable part of the game was the last five seconds, jumping into the student section after the final buzzer went off and when they were handed the District Title plaque. Dubray said something he will never forget from the game is, “dribbling down the court at the end of the game and having Coach Baker yell at me because he thought I was going to go dunk it.”

Dubray explained that in the last five seconds of the game when he had the ball before the buzzer “I was looking at the clock dribbling down the court and I saw the time and I thought ‘I get to throw this ball up, I get to jump into the student section,’ there was just a lot going through my head.”

Dubray, Sanders and Farritor stated that in preparation for state they are not changing a lot. They will continue to work hard and stay focused, and they plan to treat this game as they would any other game.

One of the leaders of the Alliance Dawg Pound, Devin Garcia, explained, “Being in the student section was crazy. There were so many people and it was so loud up there.” He remarked that to get the crowd into the game, “I just yell at them.” Garcia said, “My favorite part was seeing all the students engaged and cheering on our fellow students.” He said the most memorable part of the game was when “Dubray jumped into the student section and I hugged him really hard and said ‘we’re going to state!’” Garcia noted that he hopes there will be a lot of students attending state to bring the Dawg Pound down to Lincoln.

Coach Micheal Baker explained, “One thing that really stands out to me about this year’s team is that you tell them something and they pretty much do it, maybe not flawlessly, but they really make an effort to. You make one correction and you don’t have to keep repeating things. The second thing is that they are bigger. In the past two years, we have been smaller and we’ve had fewer big players. Having more size sure makes things easier. The third thing I’d point out is that right here in the last month of the season we have more offensive weapons. The opponent can’t just zero in on one or two players and think that they’re going to stop them.”

Baker stated, “the way we [won the game], some people would say, is kind of old fashioned: you throw the ball inside to your big man and then they score. A lot of teams now rely exclusively on outside shooters, and we do at times too, but to be able to throw the ball into the low post and score that way consistently was fun. Our guys followed a defense game plan well. We were able to minimize Lexington’s strengths and just pull away then late.”

When asked what made this year’s win different than last year’s, Baker remarked, “Being on the home court is a lot different. The community and the students were remarkable. I’ve never heard it that loud in the gym in the 20 years I’ve been here.” He went on to say that with a level of noise that intense, it hinders communication resulting in the team having to adjust, use hand signals and get a lot closer than they usually have to when talking. He noted that the most memorable part of the game to him was “seeing the guys run around like little boys when it’s over. The joy on their faces when they can put their guard down.”

The boys will be playing the first game of the tournament Thursday, March 12. The time and opponent have not yet been set. With the pep band and cheerleaders, as well as parents, students and fans traveling to Lincoln, the crowd cheering for the boys should be loud and proud. The SPUD wishes the boys the best of luck as they travel to the state tournament.