San Antonio, TX- Austin Westlake Head Basketball Coach Bonifacio "Robert" Lucero greets Senior Cade Mankle leaving the basketball court one final game. Duncanville defeated Westlake 66-53 in the Texas Class 6A State Championship game. (VSS Photo)
Austin Westlake basketball had a year of greatness.
A 30-2 season record, District Champions, Region Champions and State Finalist, with the two losses coming at the beginning and the end of the season to the State Champion Duncanville Panthers.
100% of the high school basketball teams in Texas would take any of these accolades to finish off a dream season. Life has a way of sometimes being fun, sometimes serious, sometimes very unfair.
This week was all of these things for the Westlake community. The week filled with extreme ups and downs for the Austin Westlake sports community as they both won a bid to the Texas Class 6A State Championship to face Duncanville and the loss of a dear friend, model teammate, Jackson Cocker.
Tragic news of a traffic accident caught the entire Westlake Family off guard on Wednesday, when the passing of former Austin Westlake standout Chap/current Columbia WR Jackson Cocker was made public.
During the pregame warmups all Westlake players wore No.16 on their shoot-around shirts as a tribute to Jackson Cocker who in 2019 starred for Westlake Football en route to a Class 6A Football State Championship victory.
Both Duncanville and Westlake came out for the shoot arounds with the same energy, focus, fortitude and determination to head home with a state championship. Westlake seniors KJ Adams, Eain Mowat, Cade Mankle and the Chaps did not go home champions as they had trained and practiced for.
Duncanville can flat out play basketball, they can score in bunches and in a hurry, congratulations to coach David Peavy and his staff. Life has way of giving and taking from us during our journey towards achievement.
Duncanville held a slim 50-48 lead over the Chaps with just over 2 minutes to play in the 4th quarter. From that point on, Game MVP Zhuric Phelps and the Panthers went on a run as Champions often do in crunch time to close out the game with a 66-53 victory over the Chaps.
Immediately after the Chaps received their individual State Finalist medals and coach Lucero passed the State Finalist trophy with basketball netting to senior Eain Mowat, the Chaps walked to the bench to collect their things and off the court for the last time of the season or high school career.
No doubt the Chaps walked away disappointed; some players held their medals, others took them off in defeat while others stared at the award in disbelief as Duncanville continued to celebrate across the court.
A player will never make excuses about ones performance, nor should they, but as we alluded to earlier in this post, life has a way of giving and taking away. As the Westlake players left the floor, Westlake parents were cheering them on simultaneously to pick them up from a low.
The Last Chap to leave the floor was senior Cade Mankle. Congratulations on an incredible season to Westlake coach Lucero, Cade, KJ and company.
The emotional roller coaster for all of the Westlake community could be seen on the facial expression of the last chap. Cade had the stare of a man who had been through a lot in matter of weeks, from extreme highs to extreme lows.
Highs and lows in life are always a matter of perspective and relative to where we are in life. As such, the Chaps are amidst two really big losses this week, in different perspectives, but in all just as one big family.
Stay Up Westlake Nation.
You Will Bounce Back.
KYLE,TX- The Austin Bowie Bulldogs defeated the Converse Judson Rockets in a near wire to wire fashion.
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BUDA,TX - Austin Westlake shows its depth with a back and forth victory over a strong San Antonio Johnson squad. Kansas Commit Austin Westlake Forward KJ Adams scored 20 points. Westlake moves on to play San Antonio O'Connor. (VSS Courtesy Video)
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