WAELDER — Weeks after that final buzzer of what would be his final game as a Waelder Wildcat, Isaiah Ewing reflected on his four years of playing varsity basketball, admitting that although he wasn’t able to get to the state tournament, he wouldn’t give up his experience for anything.
“I’ve learned so much,” Ewing said of his Wildcats career. “From my four years, my freshman year, I didn’t get much experience because we had better people on the team. Sooner or later I had to step up and eventually I did, made me grow better as a person.”
All four seasons, the Waelder Wildcats were able to reach the Region IV-1A tournament. Despite not getting called on so much that first year, Ewing is proud of that achievement, Waelder finishing as the final 16 best schools in Class 1A, while giving it his all.
“I’m going to miss playing my heart out,” Ewing admitted, “giving it everything I had for my teammates and hustling all four years.”
If there’s one word the senior wants to be described as, it’s “leader.” That first year, Ewing was taught to contribute to the team however he can, whenever he can. This senior year, Ewing wasn’t relied on as much as the main scorer. He knew this going into the season and instead of being forcing bad shots, he instead morphed into a facilitator at the post position.
“It’s the end for me, but a new chapter for [my younger teammates],” he said. “I realized instead of scoring the ball so much and trying to be selfish, at the end of the day, I’m not going to be here next year, they are, so I’m just trying to facilitate the ball more and do extra stuff to help the team get better and I felt like I did that.”
His attitude toward the game is something he hopes resonates with his teammates seasons beyond this one. Head Coach Jacob Garcia agreed, noting his off-the-court antics were just as important as his on-the-court contributions.
“He’s a bright kid,” Garcia said. “[I’ll miss his] laughing, saying jokes, just being a kid, joking around with his teammates.”
It helps that Ewing was a force to be reckon with on the court with his defense and rim protection. Garcia also touted Ewing’s intensity as something he’ll miss.
As for the future, Ewing has looked at Tyler Junior College to pursue psychology, though he has mixed feelings about continuing to play basketball.
“We’re going to go take him to Tyler junior College next month,” Garcia explained, “and he already got accepted but we’re going to go tour, maybe talk to the coach to see if we can get him on the team.”
If this is the end for Ewing’s basketball playing days, the Wildcat notes that he doesn’t have very many regrets.
“You’re never going to forget the past,” Ewing said, “especially when you play it so much every day. There’s a lot of things I wish I can go back and change, made shots, missed shots. But I’d probably leave it like this. It’s helped me grow.”