By Christian Weaner
Senior Basketball Players
Bonners Ferry Boys Basketball recently completed its best season in program history, and the team's five seniors—Braeden Blackmore, David Hammons, Charles Henslee, Porter Schulte and Ridge Williams—were a big reason why.
However, this success comes as no surprise to Badgers Head Coach Nathan Williams, who has coached this group since they were in elementary school.
"When the senior group was in fifth grade and the sophomore group was in third grade, I saw a lot of athleticism, grit, determination and fight in both groups," Nathan recalled. "I remember telling them that if they stay away from girls, drugs and alcohol, they will be state champions."
As the senior group developed over the years, one thing Nathan said he noticed is how much they respect, trust and genuinely care for one another.
"What truly makes my heart happy, and something I didn't ask of them, is how they stand up and cheer for each other on the bench," Nathan noted. "I don't ever see it because I am focused on the game, but watching our highlights brings so much joy to me when I witness their support for one another."
Nathan first became the head coach for this group when they were in middle school, and he was their coach ever since. Each season, he constantly pushed them to be the best basketball players they could be.
"I have been telling them since they were young that everyone wants to win, everyone likes to win, but very few are willing to put in the time and effort to win," Nathan explained. "It is not easy to win, or everyone would do it. This group has stuck it out, and I am so happy that it is paying off for them."
After making appearances in the 3A State Tournament the past two seasons, this year's team has had its sights set on a deep playoff run since the beginning of the season.
"For me, it would be awesome to bring home a trophy and to continue to make history with this group of seniors," Nathan said. "They truly deserve it since they have worked so hard in practice and the off-season for years to accomplish what they are achieving."
Ultimately, regardless of how the season ends, Nathan's desire is that the seniors will always be grateful for all they accomplished during their high school careers.
"My hope is that one day they will look back on their basketball season and have fond memories of their teammates, coaches, and overall experience," Nathan said.
Quotes About Each Senior
“David is one of the nicest kids I know. He is hard working, unselfish, and pushes us in practice to get others better. David is also a great competitor and someone that I truly respect for accepting his role on the team and enhancing our culture in the program.”
“Porter is a tough kid who also has accepted his role on the team as a new player on the varsity squad this year. He is so coachable, kind-hearted, and fun to be around. He is going to be successful in whatever he chooses and has been a great addition to our basketball program this year. He is also a quick learner, an unselfish human being, and a great teammate.”
“Charles is truly a Badger. He is not the biggest kid on the court but shows so much tenacity, hustle, grit and fight in him every play. He has no quit in him and is also a kid who is constantly praising others at practice, smiling and having fun. He is a joy to coach and someone that I appreciate greatly for his effort and determination.”
“Ridge is a tough competitor who always gets the assignment of guarding the other teams' best player. He has tremendous grit and hustle and will sacrifice his body for the benefit of the team every time. He is a quiet kid on the court but lets his playing do the talking. He is also very unselfish and puts the team first before his own stats. Ridge is a very good athlete and has worked really hard to become the basketball player he is today.”
Braeden has always been the leading scorer of the program since his freshman year. He has tremendous athleticism and loves to compete. He was moved to point guard last year, and although he doesn't get the opportunity to score as much, he has accepted his role on the team, which makes us better as a unit. He is a great person who encourages others and has been uplifting and supportive of the underclassmen in the program.”