A.J. Watson teams with Keyon Thomas for a strong Bonner Springs backcourt. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)
Like many in the past, Bonner Springs should've enjoyed a nice trip to the Class 4A state tourney in Salina. But like Basehor-Linwood or Eudora in the past three years, the Braves top 5 state season ended early to Bishop Miege.
One way to handle that - move up to Class 5A.
Bonner looks to put a loss in the substate final to the eventual three-time state champion in the rearview mirror, and motor forward towards another monster year.
The Braves (19-3 in 2018) bring back one of the top backcourts in the city and start the year again in the 810 Varsity Top 25. Bonner eyes a league title in the Frontier League - and a trip to the state tourney. Not that the Braves cringe at Miege in 4A, but with the recent KSHSAA classifications unveiled, Bonner slides up to 5A.
Bonner should be a threat to return back to the 5A tourney as it did two years ago. Keyon Thomas makes the 810 Varsity Preseason team, as the 5-foot-10 senior guard posted 19.1 ppg, five rebounds and nearly six assists last year. Thomas was a second-team all-Kansas Class 4A selection last year, and committed to play at Emporia State.
Joining him will be senior running mate A.J. Watson. The two-year starter also was a first-team all-league honoree last year after notching 12 ppg and five assists.
The Braves will run with a smaller lineup, as senior Rasjon Porter (5-foot-11), senior Noah Villarreal (6-0) and junior transfer Rishaud Dockery (5-foot-11) will see a lot of time.
"Rebounding will be a key for us - we lack size, but we always do," said head coach Dan Streit. "So we will need to make sure we control the defensive boards."
"But we are very athletic and have good shooters," Streit continued. "We will have to take care of the ball and get out and run to wear other teams down."