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Hallettsville juniors named Players of the Year

By MIKE FORMAN
April 3, 2010 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated April 2, 2010 at 11:03 p.m.

Hallettsville's Dante Haynes and Christian Wood-Dvorak led the Brahmas to the semifinals of the Class 2A state tournament.

By the numbersHallettsville 36-2, Class 2A state semifinalist

Dante Haynes 6-1, junior

24.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.1 blocked shots per game

Christian Wood-Dvorak 6-3, junior

20.3 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocked shots per game

HALLETTSVILLE - Hallettsville's first appearance at the state basketball tournament was neither unexpected nor unappreciated.

The Brahmas set their goals high after advancing to the Class 2A regional quarterfinals last season, but kept their focus on the journey.

"Coming into the season I had expectations that we would be better than last year because we had a year to get used to the system," Christian Wood-Dvorak said. "I didn't have state on my mind when we started. I just came in wanting to win games."

The Brahmas won 36 games and lost only two in putting together the best season in school history that ended with a loss to eventual state champion Ponder in the state semifinal game at the Erwin Center in Austin.

"I always knew we were going to get this far, but to know it and go out and do it is a different thing," Dante Haynes said. "The whole experience I enjoyed a lot."

Wood-Dvorak and Haynes helped make the Brahmas' run to the state tournament possible.

The juniors combined to average 44.5 points, 21.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 4 steals and 2.6 blocked shots per game and were selected as Players of the Year on the Victoria Advocate's 2010 All-Area Basketball Team.

"There's certain kids that you just can't take off the floor and that's when you know that they're an MVP," said Hallettsville coach Rich Dozier. "You can't take those two off the floor. A lot of coaches would be afraid of the competition between those two kids and I am not at all. They are not jealous, they are not going to in-fight. They will absolutely give up points, rebounds, playing time or anything for the victory."

Haynes and Wood-Dvorak heap praise on Dozier, the Advocate's Coach of the Year, and their teammates. They also appreciate each other's skills and desire to win.

"It's absolutely a ton of work," Dozier said. "And what's really awesome about our team is we have four or five other kids who could be scoring 10 or 20 points a game that give up their game for those two. They give up their games back and forth.

"When everyone is saying you score and I'll pass, I'll rebound, let's do this, that's when you're team gets real successful."

The 6-foot-1 Haynes used his quickness and leaping ability to average 24.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

"He's probably the best scorer I've ever seen," Wood-Dvorak said. "I never want to guard him when we practice. I'll be honest, I don't like guarding him he scores on me a bunch. He's faster than I am. He's stronger than I thought. He's just really good."

Haynes worked hard on becoming a better shooter and has become a more complete player.

"Before he was just a driver and you could stop that and sit back on that," Wood-Dvorak said. "This year he really got his shooting and now there's no way to guard him. You've got to pick your poison. He's either going to shoot over you or drive by you. When he's having his game you just give him the ball and let him score. He does the same for me. We just go back and forth and everybody else will do what they do."

The 6-foot-3 Wood-Dvorak did a little bit of everything, while averaging 20.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He brought the ball up court, made 3-point shots and posted up taller players under the basket.

"He's an all-around player," Haynes said. "He gets to his spot and he does what we expect him to do. Christian always amazes me with the things he does. When I play against him, I try to keep him out of the paint. Everybody knows if he's establishing a position in the post then you're pretty much done. I just try to get as low as I can and keep him out of there."

Hallettsville won its first 28 games before losing to District 26-2A foe Hempstead.

The Brahmas advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in school history and earned a trip to the state tournament by rallying from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat San Antonio Cole in the regional final.

"You never really feel pressure when you have the team that we had," Wood-Dvorak said. "We were a bunch of goof balls pretty much. You would think about the pressure and you would turn around and someone would be making a joke. It would just go away right there. You just have fun."

The fun should continue next season for the Brahmas. Reid Brunner was the only senior in the starting lineup.

Haynes and Wood-Dvorak will return with starters Clayton O'Neill and Camp Dozier and experienced reserves Darnell Brown, Cortney King, Logan Goode and Trevor McGee, the Advocate's Newcomer of the Year.

"We just have to keep on building and building on to the next season," Haynes said. "It's about working hard to get better because if we don't, we won't get better. We definitely have to go out and work at it.

"You just try to stay humble," he added. "It's all about doing what people expect you to do. If we do what we're supposed to do, we're going to win."

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