[Photos by Trevor Fleeman, Ben Jenkins and Matthew Smith]
Coach of the Year
Boston Hudson, Clarendon
By Kale Steed
Clarendon’s Boston Hudson has been head coaching for three seasons, however, already has the resume a tenured coach could only crave.
At 26-years-old, Hudson has amassed an unbelievable record of 58-6 in two seasons at Clarendon, while signing his name to two University Interscholastic League Class 2A state championships after his Broncos repeated by beating Lipan 65-51 in March at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
Hudson is the only coach in Clarendon history with a state title under his belt, and for that effort, Hudson earns his second straight Press Pass Sports Boys Coach of the Year nod.
“It’s been pretty amazing to watch,” Clarendon athletic director Clint Conkin said. “It’s hard to win just one, but to go back-to-back is something special. The players bought in, and Boston has their trust. He has done an unbelievable job with this program.”
This was a much different year for the Broncos (31-2 overall). After the loss of key players Donovan Thompson and Sylvester Ballard, Hudson knew that Clarendon still had the talent to get back to San Antonio, but who was going to step up around star players Lamarcus Penigar, Jmaury Davis, Cade D’Costa and Jordan Herndon.
Hovering around the top of the rankings all season, Hudson also knew the Broncos had a target on their back, and were going to get everyone’s best effort.
“I think this state title was as special if not more than the first one,” Hudson said. “We had lost some pieces from last year, and were preseason No. 1. Our guys took on that challenge and accepted it. I’m so proud of the way they handled it all. It never phased them.”
Clarendon last lost to Canyon on December 30, during a Christmas Tournament. From that point forward, the Broncos cruised through District 2-2A, ending their playoff run on a 17-game win streak.
Hudson says there are moments that he’ll always cherish, especially Penigar’s lasting performance in the state championship against Lipan, where the senior caught fire scoring 41 points, 33 of those in the second half, becoming the first 2A player to score 40 plus points in a state game since 1964.
“Looking back on this year a lot comes to mind,” Hudson said. “Wellington played us really close. We had an intense practice the next day, and our guys responded. New Home and Christoval made us really work at the regional tournament. But it will always come back to what Lamarcus did on that state stage. He was just incredible, and our defense in that game. We held Lipan to only eight points in the third quarter.”
Conkin says it’s easy for people on the outside to look at a talented team like Clarendon and think you win by stepping on the floor. But Conkin adds the chemistry between Hudson and his team was why Clarendon has done what it has over the past two years. The perfect coach, with the perfect players.
“Boston does so much that no one sees,” Conkin said. “He keeps these guys grounded and humble. I coached against Boston when he was at Wheeler, and I could see how great he was. He’s an excellent X’s and O’s guy. He prepares this team, and we’re always ready to battle. They respond to him. Those are the things that standout to me.”
Player of the Year
Brendan Hausen, Amarillo High, 6-4, Guard, Sr.
By Lance Lahnert
When that name is brought up to Amarillo High boys basketball coach Jason Pillion a smile will always follow.
“When I hear Brendan Hausen, the best to come through Amarillo High I think is the first thing that comes to mind,” Pillion said. “Just the level of excellence and how he did everything. From how he played the game of basketball, which everybody had the pleasure of seeing the past four years. How he did everything from his work ethic and his influence on our culture, the type of teammate he was. Just excellence.”
Hausen’s four-year career, closed out in the Region I-5A finals in early March, is one for the record books and one placing his name forever in Amarillo history as one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball in the city of Amarillo.
The 6-foot-4 Hausen, a signee for Final Four Villanova, finished his senior season averaging 17.5 points, four rebounds and 3.5 assists for the 32-7 regional finalist Sandies.
Hausen departs AHS as the all-time leading scorer with 2,208 points earning numerous awards including district most valuable player honors his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, along with Texas Association of Basketball Coaches all-state honors as a junior and senior.
For Hausen’s accomplishments today he is named the 2022 Press Pass Sports boys basketball player of the year for a second consecutive year.
Hausen skills on the court are many. Obviously, his accurate shooting ability catches the eyes of fans. Pillion said Hausen is much more than a scorer.
“The thing I was most proud of Brendan when you look at our stats at season end, he is obviously our leading scorer, leading in three-point percentage, leading in free throw percentage, all those scoring things,” Pillion said. “But he was also our leading assist man, highest to assist to turnover ratio, our leading defensive rebounder … so to me he impacts winning. If we had to late in games we would put him to defend their best player He did just so many things beyond shooting the basketball. When I think of him I think of a winner. That’s what drove him. He wasn’t driven by statistics and the things that come with it.”
Pillion said Hausen’s impact on the AHS program will last for years to come.
“It’s been well documented his impact on kids getting in the gym by themselves,” Pillion said. “Literally, the first day of school his freshman year he there like at 6:30 a.m. shooting. He brought Cade Hornecker along. There were times he’d bring somebody else. But in the beginning it was just him. Over the course of months and now years, it’s just had an impact. Now you walk in the gym and you have a lot guys shooting, some who were never Brendan’s teammate and just watched from a distance and came up and say, ‘Coach, can I come in early and shoot?’ ‘Sure, you can.’ Now it’s expected. I truly anticipate there will be kids down the road in that gym getting work done on there own five and 10 years down the road that don’t even Brendan.”
Hausen’s daily routine is unfathomable to many who know how teenagers love to sleep-in, some even taking an Act of Congress to get up in time for school.
He awakes at 4:30 a.m. and heads to an Amarillo gym. He makes 500 shots and then heads off to Amarillo High attending classes until 11:30 a.m. Once done with his classes, he returns to the gym and makes 250 more shots. He then goes to the weight room. Eventually he heads home to eat lunch and relax. Since the season ended he spends evenings heading back for a gym workout and play some pick-up basketball games.
“Right now it’s a lot about getting in shape, doing stuff for my body and a lot of stuff working on fundamentals getting ready for Villanova,” Hausen said. “For me, I love it. I love that time in a gym when I’m putting up shots.”
With Hausen’s local fame he became like the Pied Piper at events he attended. For instance, at a West Texas A&M Lady Buffs game he sat courtside and was constantly asked to chat, take selfies and sign autographs.
Then, after an AHS home game this past season he delighted a young kid by handing him his signed sneakers leaving the youngster with a smile wider than a backboard.
Pillion said watching Hausen handle all the attention was as impressive as his immense shooting skills. But wasn’t surprised.
“Because anybody who knows Brendan knows he grew up in a gym with Benji coaching,” Pillion said. “So that was him. He was that guy who looked up to the guys at Amarillo High who played here before him. There is a video with Brendan’s mom, Stefanie, of him shooting when he was in elementary and she was asking questions. He’s like, ‘I’m going to play for the Sandies.’ He’s been in those kids’ shoes. So, when he looks up in the stands and sees kids who want to be like him, he can relate to them.
“Benji and Stefanie, his parents, raised an incredible young man. And then his heart. Since he was a kid he’s always had a big heart. He truly has a heart for people. He’s such a giving kid.”
Hausen said handling his local fame is simple because like Pillion said, he’s lived it.
“That was me,” Hausen said. “One of the little kids looking up to players and wanting their attention and wanting to be like them. It didn’t always happen, either. That’s OK. But I remember that and I truly feel blessed to be in this position.”
When Pillion remembers Hausen’s career he will remember a player who was about the team, not stats.
“Brendan simply wanted to get the win,” Pillion said. “I can remember his first loss in high school. We lost a tough one at home. We are walking off the floor and all his freshman buddies are in the student section and yelling, ‘Brendan, you scored 28.’ But he was in tears. From his first game to his last and some inbetween. He just wanted to help the team win.”
Hausen said when he reflects and talks about his Amarillo High career, he knows exactly how it will go.
“None of the wins or awards,” Hausen said. “I will remember getting to play with my best friends. Playing with my brother (Braden) and for my dad (assistant AHS coach, Benji) and Coach Pillion. Just all the little things. The bus rides. The locker room. All that will be the things I look back on. I’m always going to be an Amarillo High guy. Just a lot of fun and truly a blessing.”
Truly blessed? That’s what happened to anybody who watched Brendan Hausen play basketball for Amarillo High.
Lamarcus Penigar, Clarendon, 5-9, Guard, Sr.
On a team with several talents, Penigar was the glue for the Broncos with his senior leadership and dangerous athleticism in the backcourt. The Class 2A state MVP left his mark dropping an incredible 41 points during a 65-51 win over Lipan in an unforgettable performance that helped Clarendon to back-to-back state championships. The District 2-2A MVP and TABC All-State selection ended his year averaging 21.3 points a game, and 5.3 assists.
William Luther, Texline, 6-4, Guard, Sr.
The reigning Class 1A Player of the Year did all he could helping Texline back to the 1A state championship game before falling to Graford 42-39. Luther leaves Texline as one of the all-time greats of the program. This season, the District 3-1A MVP carried his team averaging a double-double with 20.2 points and 13.5 rebounds a game. His accolades speak for themself. Luther was a three-time TABC All-Region and All-State selection scoring over 2,000 career points, nabbing over 1,000 career boards with over 500 career assists, and over 250 career steals.
Jmaury Davis, Clarendon, 6-2, Forward, Jr.
The Texas Tech football commit is a human highlight reel for the two-time state champion Broncos. Davis can steal the show at any moment with his electrifying dunks and his tremendous vertical ability. The District 2-2A Offensive MVP averaged a team-best 23.2 points a game, averaging 8.4 rebounds per contest. Davis was named as a TABC All-State selection for his tremendous year.
Damonze Woods, Amarillo High, 6-6, Forward, Sr.
Woods was the third piece of the puzzle for the Sandies, filling in the difference between Brendan Hausen’s dynamic outside shooting and Hornecker’s immovable object presence inside. He was a big part of then transition game, averaging 10 points and six rebounds a game and was a first-team 3-5A and Region I-5A selection. Woods has signed to play for UT-Arlington.
Cade Hornecker, Amarillo High, 7-0, Center, Sr.
Hornecker was the undisputed big man among Amarillo High’s trio of four-year starters. He was a dominant inside presence at both ends of the floor, averaging 11 points a game and leading the Sandies with 6.5 rebounds a contest. Hornecker was a first-team 3-5A selection and Region I-5A pick, and has signed to play at Southern Illinois University next season.
Newcomer of the Year
KJ Thomas, Randall, 5-11, Guard, So.
No other boys newcomer in the Amarillo metro area made a more pronounced splash than Thomas, who immediately established himself as a go-to scorer for the Raiders. He led Randall with 21.4 points game and set new school records for points (770) and 3-point goals (129) in a season. Thomas was a first-team All-District 3-5A selection and helped lead the Raiders to the region quarterfinals.
“KJ had an awesome season as a sophomore,” Randall coach Leslie Broadhurst said. “He had a record-breaking season leading our team in scoring and assists. KJ is a tireless worker who is always looking to improve and make his teammates better also. His work ethic is second to none.”
Travon McCaslin, Tulia, 6-2, Guard, Jr.
McCaslin may be the best kept secret in all the Texas Panhandle. Playing in a district with Shallowater, Abernathy and Childress, McCaslin
dazzled opponents with his ability to run the floor. The District 3-2A Offensive MVP poured in 20.4 points a game, averaged an impressive 5.1 steals, and nabbed 7.6 rebounds per night. McCaslin was tabbed as a TABC All-State selection.
Lamont Nickelberry, Childress, 6-0, Guard, Jr.
Nickelberry had a superb junior year for the Bobcats. The District 2-3A Defensive MVP became a leader for Childress averaging four steals a on top of averaging 17.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and four assist on the year. For his efforts, Nickelberry was named as a TABC All-Region selection.
Audi Luckey, Palo Duro, 6-0, Guard, Jr.
Luckey continued the tradition of stellar guard play for the Dons. He averaged 19 points a game while shooting 44 percent from 3-point range, leading Palo Duro in both categories. He was a first-team 3-5A and Region I-5A selection after being named the district’s Newcomer of the Year last year.
Cayden D’Costa, Clarendon, 6-2, Guard, Sr.
D’Costa left his mark in a tremendous way for a Broncos team that made won back-to-back UIL Class 2A state championships. The senior was a go-to weapon for head coach Boston Hudson all season, especially at the state tournament where he made his way on the state tournament team averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds. On the season, the All-Region selection averaged 13.4 points a game, and 8.8 rebounds.
Kemper Jones, Canyon, 6-6, Forward, Jr.
Jones led the Eagles to their most successful season in over 40 years, as they went unbeaten in District 4-4A and reached the Region I-4A final. He averaged 16 points and six rebounds a game, and most impressively for a big man, shot 45 percent from 3-point range. Jones was the 4-4A MVP and a Class 4A All-State choice.
Ashraf Barsham, Tascosa, 6-5, Forward, Sr.
Chris Bryant, Canyon, 6-7, Center, Jr.
Dustin Bryant, Wildorado, 6-0, Guard, Sr.
Parker Cunningham, Canyon, 5-10, Guard, Sr.
Trent Gerber, Nazareth, 6-1, Guard, Sr.
Jordan Herndon, Clarendon, 5-10, Guard, Sr.
Cristian Kelso, Dumas, 6-3, Forward, Sr.
Noel Lozano, Texline, 6-4, Forward, Sr.
Gage Martinez, Borger, 6-0, Guard, Sr.
Braedyn Mendoza, Hereford 6-2, Forward, Sr.
Colton Millsap, Gruver, 6-2, Guard, Sr.
Cole Purcell, Bushland, 5-11, Guard, Jr.
Cody Rinne, Stratford, 6-0, Guard, Sr.
Johnny Reynaga, Dumas, 6-0, Guard, Sr.
Paetyn Walker, Palo Duro, 6-1, Guard, Sr.