The Press Newspaper
Donny Bowen earns third straight first team honors
To be a great athlete in one sport is impressive. To be a standout in two sports is even more impressive.
With his accomplishments in soccer and basketball, Woodmore senior Donny Bowen will likely go down as one of the school's most decorated athletes. In his four years, Bowen was a four-year letter winner and three-year starter in basketball and a four-year letter winner and four-year starter in soccer.
It is the accolades he received that stand out the most. For the third consecutive season, Bowen earned first-team honors on the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Basketball Team and in the Northern Buckeye Conference and District 7.
As a soccer player, Bowen was named NBC and Press Player of the Year after his junior season. As a midfielder, Bowen helped lead the Wildcats to consecutive NBC titles.
On the court this year, Bowen, a guard/forward/wing, or a little bit of everything, averaged 16 points and nine rebounds. Before he suffered two separate injuries, a cracked tibia and a broken foot that caused him to miss roughly half the season, Bowen was averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds, both tops in the Northern Buckeye Conference.
This season, the Wildcats had an up and down campaign that saw them face a difficult non-conference schedule and compete in a league with schools larger in size. Woodmore finished with a 9-14 mark and a 6-8 record in the NBC, good for sixth place. In the team's final game of the year, the Wildcats fell in heartbreaking fashion to Western Reserve, 57-51 in overtime in the Division III sectional semifinal. The Roughriders, champions of the Firelands Conference, finished the year with a 19-6 record before falling in the district final to Huron, 41-35.
Despite losing their final game, Woodmore can take solace in knowing they left it all on the floor, rallying from a seven-point deficit midway thru the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. Coach Brad Sander praised the contributions of shooting guard Brad Flick, who finished with 22 points, including five 3-pointers, and Bowen, who had 16 points.
Bowen had plenty of help this season. Flick averaged 11 points and connected on 48 three-pointers and point guard Jake Lewandowski and power forward Matt Haar both averaged about 10 points. Haar was second on the team in rebounds, averaging seven per contest.
Bowen credits his teammates with performing well in his absence.
“They all stepped up,” he said. “Everybody stepped up, chipped in and did what they have to do. Going down wasn't going to hold anyone back. I was real proud of our team and just the way we handled it. We all stuck together.”
Sander, a 2000 Genoa graduate who lettered four times as a Comet, took over the Wildcat’s cage program three years ago. Since, the ‘Cats have seen steady improvement. The team went 4-16 and 1-11 in the Suburban Lakes League before Sander in 2010. Woodmore has won 10, seven and nine games, since Sander was named coach. He says Bowen has contributed to that.
“In terms of what he did for the program — somebody that works as hard as he does, working on his skills,” Sander said. “Physically, he put a lot time in. That's what you like to see. Having him around the last few years has set a really nice example for how hard we like our kids to work. He and the four other seniors all improved dramatically. As a team, this past offseason, we did a lot of 5:30 a.m. workouts and, as a whole that senior class was at pretty much at all of them. A lot of that was because Donny led the guys.”
The high point of the season came on Feb. 15 when the Wildcats defeated Genoa in dramatic fashion, 98-90, in double overtime on Senior Night.
Haar had 26 points to lead all scorers and Lewandowski, Flick and Bowen finished with 16, 15 and 14 points, respectively. Fellow senior Harrison Wooten, a stable force in the post all year long for the squad, was also instrumental in helping Woodmore pull out the victory.
“That was pretty intense, playing in that type of game, up and down all the time,” said Bowen. “It was fun. I always wanted to play in that. We played well and we were both battling the whole game, and we broke the school record for points in a game.”
Sander added, “It was Senior Night. We started all five seniors and got positive contributions and it was back and forth all night. We got up a few points and they would battle back. Give our kids credit, they were tired and fought and fought and fought. We were able to make a shot or two when we needed it. To get a big win against Genoa, our rival on Senior Night, was important.”
At this point, Bowen is hoping that he is accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with the recommendation of Congressman Bob Latta.
Now, Sander hopes that some of the lessons he taught his players stick with them.
“This group of guys, I think they understood the importance of building a great work ethic and building solid discipline habits, things that will carry on with them long after they leave Woodmore,” Sander said.
“It's a great group of kids and I loved coming to the gym for practice. The way they conducted themselves on the floor, off the floor, leadership-wise, I'm really proud of how much they grew.”
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