GONZALES — It was Bill Parcells that once said, “you are what your record says you are.” The problem is, you need a bit of context to fully understand what exactly a team is.
The scoreboard on Friday night flashed Visitor (the Navarro Panthers) – 66, Home (Gonzales) – 50, but the 16-point loss isn’t indicative of what the Apaches boys’ basketball team has become this season.
After suffering the 16-point loss on Friday, Gonzales head coach A.J. Irwin praised his players’ efforts, even if they didn’t get the result they had hope for by the time the clock struck 0:00.
“If you hadn’t been to any of our basketball games and just looked at the scores, you’re like, ‘man what is going on up there?’” Irwin said. “But if you come to our gym, the Gonzales Special Events Center, and you come on a Tuesday and a Friday night and you show up at 6:25 p.m., you have to get ready to see guys give it everything they have for 32 minutes. Tonight, they did that.”
The Apaches never led in the game, going down 12-1 early in the first quarter. Navarro would end that period with the 16-5 advantage. Navarro’s lead increased to 17 points with 3:00 left in the half, but then the Apaches ran a 7-2 run, coming within 12 points with seconds left on the clock.
“We ended up coming back and we were down 12,” Irwin explained. “We missed a layup, would have put us down 10, [Navarro] ended up getting the ball in transition and then they scored and then we’re down 14 at half.”
The Apaches came within 11 immediately after the half started on a Levi Hernandez three pointer. That would be the closest Gonzales got as Navarro 12-2 run to go up by 21, an insurmountable lead.
Even with the big deficit, Irwin touted his team for their resiliency and their efforts on the court throughout the game. Down 20 at the start of the fourth, the Apaches fought point-for-point, ending the game with a 16-point loss.
“We continued to fight throughout the entire game,” Irwin noted. “That’s something that when I got here four years ago, you didn’t see that. You go down 10 points, 12 points, the kids would give up. We’re down 20 and these kids are fighting, they’re still trying to win the basketball game, they’re still giving everything they have. That is a cornerstone to any great basketball club.”
Mason Richter led scoring for the Apaches with 12 points. Senior Trevion McNeil added 11 points while Diego Diaz DeLeon had eight, Hernandez and Contrell Smith had seven while Heath Henke had two points and I.G. Franklin had one.
The loss dropped the Apaches to 0-5 in District 27-4A. As frustrating as it is to take these many losses, the first-year head coach sees the improvement the team has made since the beginning of the season, right after football season. Though many see this as a “rebuilding year” because of a new coach, Irwin classifies it as a “relocation” year.
“The metaphor I’m using with the kids is, we’re not just rebuilding the program,” he explained. “We’re taking a program that was built on sand and we’re relocating it to a solid ground, so what we lay down stays there. We’re putting what we’re doing is relocating from what was and what has happened over the past however many years and we’re turning it and putting it in the right direction.”
“These guys stepped up big [tonight],” he continued. “One person came off frustrated because of something that happened in the first quarter, two or three minutes in. after that, we were positive the whole way. And I don’t think we ever had the lead this whole game, but we fought the entire game and that speaks volumes of what these young men are becoming and really stepping into the role of being that model citizen that our young Apaches can look up to.”
“You are what your record says you are.” Says a guy who doesn’t even go by what his real name says he is. Don’t listen to the words of Duane Charles “Bill” Parcells. Context matters. And for the Gonzales Apaches, the first-year head coach believes they are trending up, despite what the record may read.
On Tuesday, the Apaches traveled to La Vernia to take on the second-place Bears, losing the bout 96-48. Gonzales hosts Wimberley (6-0) on Friday, with tipoff scheduled at 6:25 p.m.