A title 62 years in the making
When Joey Martin arrived at Burleson last season he had no idea of the history of the Elks boys basketball program.
As the Elks closed in on and finally clinched the District 9-5A title, Martin learned just what an accomplishment winning the district title was at Burleson.
It took a lot of research by Burleson ISD Athletic Director Phil Anderson to come to the conclusion that the Elks last district title came in 1956.
Tuesday night following the Elks’ 53-48 win over Crowley in their district finale, Bobby Ray Shropshire, a member of the 1956 team and a BISD Sports Hall of Fame inductee along with Anderson, presented the district championship trophy to the Elks.
“I’m just happy for our guys,” Martin said. “These kids play as hard as any team I’ve ever coached. They are Burleson kids and they deserve it. They have been on the other side of winning, so I’m excited to help them win a district championship.”
The Elks (24-6) finished with a district record of 13-1. After losing to Granbury in the district opener, Burleson reeled off 13 district wins. Friday night, Jaylen Johnson’s put back as time expired gave the Elks a 61-59 win at Arlington Seguin.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well and Seguin shot the ball really well,” Martin said. “Anytime you have to beat someone twice in a season it’s always tougher the second time. The kids played hard and we were fortunate to get a win.”
Burleson will open the playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday against Lancaster at Mansflield High School.
Making the playoffs didn’t come as a surprise to Martin.
When he got to Burleson he told people the Elks would probably make the playoffs.
But when he got to practice and saw the hand of seven talented seniors he’d been dealt he knew he had something special on his hands.
“As the season went on, I thought we had a chance to win the district,” Martin said. “I told them that and I think they believed in themselves. They have played together really well. This senior class is special being that it is the
first team to win a district title since 1956. This group of seven seniors and these three juniors are pretty special to Burleson.”
The senior class, which was honored before the game Tuesday, includes Johnson, Josiah Sneed, Dalton Lane, Logan Pott, Levi Porter, Joe Lutka and Raymond Lynch.
Johnson credits Martin with getting things turned around at Burleson.
“Coach Martin is like a dad to us,” Johnson said. “He treats us like he treats his son. He treats us like a family and that’s what keeps us together. If we have a problem we can go to him and he will tell us how it is supposed to be, he doesn’t sugar-coat it or anything. Coach knew how to use us as a team and what we could do individually and that made us a better team.”
Coach Martin’s son Sam, is a junior on the team, along with juniors Aden Anderson and C.J. Williams.
Johnson said another key for the Elks has been their unselfish play and team-first attitude.
“The key is we have come together as a team,” Johnson said. “If we have a problem we talk about it and at the end of the day we stay together. If we win, we win as a team and if we lose, we lose as a team.”
The boys last playoff appearances came in 2009 and 2010 under the direction of coach Ted Tomchesson. Prior to that, the boys last playoff team was the 1996 squad that featured BISD Sports Hall of Fame inductee Ryan Mendez.
Don’t be surprised to see the 2018 boys team entering the Sports Hall of Fame someday.