Blue Ridge Early College boys varsity basketball team hosted Highlands earlier this month and while they lost a tough battle 78-68, things were bittersweet as senior athletes were recognized for their high school basketball achievements.
BREC Coach Tim Mayse said the Bobcats played their hearts out against Highlands.
“We got down in the first half and mounted a comeback in the second half and were so close at taking over, but Highlands made some key plays,” said Mayse. “We shot the ball well, but had some crucial turnovers that kind of doomed us. I have to give credit to how hard both teams played. Both teams could have folded but they didn’t. True rivalry game.”
BREC Carsen Williams had 20 points, Jacob Pressler had 15 points, Collin Bryson had 10 points, Korbin Walters had 9 points, Eric Puskarich had 7 points, CJ Jennings had 2 points, Kaleb Fugate had 2 points, Levi Walters had 2 points, and Carson Druffel had 1 point.
BREC seniors include Collin Bryson, Kaleb Fugate, Joe Madden, Steve Madden, Jacob Pressler, Korbin Walters, and Carsen Williams.
Mayse said they lose almost every statistical leader and that losing 7 seniors is going to make things tough for next year.
“These seniors brought back pride to our boys’ program,” said Mayse. “Their style of play this year showed no fear. They laid it out on the line every night. They did a great job of working with the younger players on our team. They didn’t have to be selfless in their actions. They took the time to motivate our younger guys and show them the ropes of varsity basketball.”
He added that this group of seniors excel both in and out of the classroom and have bright futures ahead of them.
“I know these guys are going to be productive young men when they leave Blue Ridge,” said Mayse. “Very proud to see what they’ve become.”
Blue Ridge Early College Seniors:
Miss most: Being able to enjoy playing the game with my teammates and just hanging out with them.
Favorite memories: There’s a lot of them, but one would be in some game Kaleb passed the ball to me on the three-point line and I dished it back to him in the most easy-beautiful layup, it was perfect. Plus, I’m going to miss trash talking my teammates.
Future plans: Attend diesel mechanics school
Miss most: Getting hyped up in the locker rooms before games.
Favorite memory: During freshman year Collin Bryson threw up at practice and ran out of the room yelling ‘it was the pizza rolls,’ it was hilarious. We ran so much that day.
Future plans: Getting into the family business of tree service, towing, and snow plowing
Miss most: Probably getting to hang out and play ball with all my friends.
Favorite memory: When me and Carsen (Williams) beat Coach Mayse and Coach Reece in Around-the-World.
Future plans: Attend Southwestern Community College followed by welding school.
Miss most: Getting to hang out with all my friends.
Favorite memory: I don’t have just one favorite memory, but I’d say just having fun at practice.
Future plans: Become a firefighter or attend school to become a hunting guide
Miss most: Being able to play the game with my friends.
Favorite memory: Transferring to Blue Ridge my freshman year and being accepted as part of a family. I’ll never forget that.
Future plans: Attend college and study Fire Science or Fire Service Leadership and become a full-time firefighter.
Miss most: Coming here every day and practicing with my best friends.
Favorite memory: Beating Highlands the first game of this season.
Future plans: Attend Western Carolina University, undecided major
Miss most: These guys, I love these guys. I’m going to App State next year and I don’t know when I’ll see them again. They have been like family to me for the past 14 years. I’m going to miss the fans and the thrill of being out there, but I’m really going to miss my teammates.
Favorite memories: On Senior Night boys and girls varsity teams signed basketballs and gave one to each senior, I just broke down.
Future plans: Attend Appalachian State University and study Communications or Broadcasting.