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Hallettsville seniors end successful careers at state tournament

March 9, 2011 at 9:05 p.m.
Updated March 9, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.

The Hallettsville seniors are on their way to their last shot at a state title this Friday, when they play Idalou in their semifinal game of the Class 2A UIL State Basketball Tournament at the Erwin Center in Austin. Seniors are (clockwise from top left) Seth Williamson, Clayton O'Neill, Christian Wood-Dvorak, Lucas DeForest, Camp Dozier, Jordan Jackson, Dante Haynes and Logan Goode.

UIL State TournamentSenior Moment

WHAT: Class 2A Friday's Semifinals

WHERE: Erwin Center, Austin

WHEN: 8:30 a.m., Hallettsville (33-4) vs. Idalou (31-1); 10 a.m., Melissa (36-1) vs. Tatum (31-7); Final, Saturday, 2 p.m.

SENDOFF: The Brahmas leave for Austin on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. outside of the Hallettsville gym

Hallettsville seniors

0 Clayton O'Neill

1 Camp Dozier

2 Logan Goode

3 Jordan Jackson

4 Christian Wood-Dvorak

5 Dante Haynes

12 Lucas DeForest

13 Seth Williamson

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HALLETTSVILLE - Practice ended early at the Hallettsville gym on Tuesday, but it was hard to tell.

Players lingered on the court, shooting free throws and conversing before slowly making their way to the locker room.

"I'm very excited about going to state and very sad about our season getting ready to be over," said Logan Goode. "I've enjoyed all of it with these guys from my freshman to my senior year."

Hallettsville's season will conclude this weekend at the UIL state basketball tournament, and it will also mark the end of a remarkable run for a senior class that has enjoyed unparalleled success while rewriting most of the school record book.

"Our sophomore year, we realized we had a lot of talent," said Clayton O'Neill. "We felt like if we could put it all together, we could be really, really good."

The eight seniors heading to the Erwin Center in Austin for the Brahmas' second consecutive appearance at the state tournament have built a 103-9 record since their sophomore season, putting a program that had never been to the regional tournament on the basketball map.

"I always knew we were going to be good," Goode said. "We really matured and got better as the three years went by and now we're really a good team."

Rich Dozier had an idea of what was in store when he became Hallettsville's head basketball coach when this year's seniors were in eighth grade.

But it wasn't until two years later, when one his best players quit the team to concentrate on baseball that he realized their potential.

"Our first few games we only suited out seven and five of them were sophomores and that bad thing that happened turned out to be a blessing," Dozier said. "We were stuck with a bunch of sophomores and I didn't know what to do with them. I put them on the floor and told them to play basketball and we went 34-3."

The 2009 Brahmas lost in the regional quarterfinals to Jarrell, but they were just getting started.

The Brahmas made their first state tournament appearance last season before losing in the semifinals to eventual Class 2A state champion Ponder and finishing at 36-2.

Hallettsville will take a 33-4 record into Friday's 8:30 a.m. semifinal against Idalou (31-1), seeking a berth in Saturday's 2 p.m. championship game.

"The No. 1 thing is coach Dozier," O'Neill said. "He is by far the best coach I've ever known. The drills and everything. He understands the game and he knows what will make you better and what we will need for games. With his help, that's why we're where we are."

Dante Haynes, who played on the varsity as a freshman, averages 21.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Christian Wood-Dvorak, last year's Class 2A Mr. Basketball in Texas, averages 20.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. O'Neill averages 15.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Fellow senior Camp Dozier, who is joined in the starting lineup by junior Trevor McGee, has made 50 3-pointers and averages 8.4 assists per game.

Dozier is quick to acknowledge the Brahmas are extremely talented. But he also appreciates their willingness to work hard and desire to get better.

"It takes a whole lot more than talent to win," Dozier said. "You see that throughout the playoffs in all sports. The reason this team wins is first of all it's a team and second of all they like each other. Then you throw in the talent and it's a lot of fun."

Dozier appreciates the willingness of Goode and seniors Jordan Jackson, Lucas DeForest and Seth Williamson to accept their roles off the bench.

"That's a huge point," Rich Dozier said. "That's probably my biggest coaching point in that we have a job, everyone has a job to do and everyone has a role to play. If you embrace and love that job and embrace and love your role, even if it's 10 seconds as a defensive stopper then we're going to win."

The eight Hallettsville seniors have won at a school-record clip during their three years on the varsity, and they've enjoyed the experience.

"It's always a lot of fun with us," O'Neill said. "We're always working hard, but at the same time it's always a lot of fun. We incorporate fun into everything we do."

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361- 580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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