On senior night, with his parents watching from the Bales Gym bleachers, senior guard Charles Bohannon kept shooting despite a mounting deficit.
It was a microcosm for what has been another losing season for the Rebels, who trailed Vandegrift by 14 points entering the fourth quarter.
Bohannon, however, was undeterred, as he poured in 17 of the team’s 21 points in the final period, closing the books on a 57-46 loss at home.
“We live and die with him,” said Hays coach Matthew Sandoval. “Unfortunately, it was a little bit too late because of the circumstances. It is what it is.”
Friday night’s loss capped a 2016-2017 season in which the Rebels went 7-24 and included a 2-10 record in district play. That mark placed Hays last in the district.
Sandoval pointed to the first quarter as an early sign of trouble. He watched as his team missed all seven of its three-pointers.
The team shot 20 percent from the field, but the deficit was just four points.
“We didn’t start well in the first quarter,” Sandoval said. “It was up-and-down from there.”
Bohannon was held to one point in the second and third quarter, as Vandegrift made its push.
Led by freshman center Greg Brown III and his team-high 19 points, the Vipers generated much of their offense by capitalizing on Hays’ miscues. There were 22 turnovers in total, leading to easy buckets for Vandegrift in transition.
“We didn’t play well,” Sandoval said. “We didn’t execute. We couldn’t score, make layups, turnovers, bad shots. Just bad offense. Defensively, we did (execute). Offensively we didn’t.”
Even as his team struggled to score, Bohannon continued to press the Vandegrift defense. He made two deep 3-pointers in the final three minutes, got to the foul line four times and made another two-point jumper. He was a bright spot in a game without many bright spots.
Bohannon had a game-high 23 points, which amounted to half of the Rebels’ points, but it wasn’t enough.
Following the game, he walked off the Rebels court and receded in to the home locker room for the last time. His teammates followed his lead, like they did during the game.
“Outstanding group of young men, a great senior class,” Sandoval said. “I think this senior class has come a long way and they’ve made it through together on the varsity team. I’m lucky to have been their coach. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just hate to see them go.”