Boys Basketball Virtual Senior Night

Walking across West Ottawa’s gymnasium with their parents on their arms, seniors get their chance to take it all in one last time. One last home game. One last celebration with the team.
This teary-eyed tradition caps off the career of every Panther athlete, at least it has in the past.
This year, however, the pandemic that has taken away so much from so many continues to take away opportunities for West Ottawa athletes. Unfortunately for the boys basketball team, circumstances outside of their control took away the senior night celebration to thank and honor the team’s senior athletes.
Despite the changes brought on by COVID-19, and thanks to the help of our seniors, West Ottawa basketball had a great season.
#0 Isaias Rios:
Sr. Isaias Rios has played basketball for fourteen years.
“We are so proud of Isaias for putting in countless hours in the gym throughout his basketball career,” Rios’s mother Jessica said. “In doing so, he has developed a strong work ethic, shown determination, and tenacity.”
Rios’s favorite memories of his basketball career are going into four overtimes against Rockford during his sophomore season, and going into overtime against Hudsonville during this past season.
“Watching Isaias play with his teammates, seeing those guys out on the court working hard and having fun is what we’ve loved watching over the years,” Jessica said.
After high school, Rios hopes to attend Grace Christain University and continue to play basketball.
“Basketball taught Isaias that he should never give up, how to be a leader, and how to fight through adversity. These high school years especially have sculpted him into the young man that he is today,” Jessica said.
Rios’s advice to the team is, “Just do what we do best and keep your heads up no matter what.”
“It seems like only yesterday you were playing basketball on your Little Tykes hoop as a two year old. Now you are a senior and your high school basketball career is coming to a close. We are so incredibly proud of you! We have loved watching you play the sport you love all of these years. We’ve enjoyed so many moments cheering you and your team on in the stands. You have a bright future ahead of you. No matter where you go from here, we will continue cheering you on. We love you! Mom and Dad.”
#10 Blake Bosma:
Sr. Blake Bosma has played basketball for nearly his entire life.
“When Blake played his first varsity basketball game he was a little, timid sophomore. After taking a year off and spending a lot of time in the weight room, he returned to the court quite a bit bigger and stronger,” Bosma’s mother Wendy said.
Bosma’s favorite memory is going 20-0 during his time on the JV basketball team.
“After high school, I’m going to Western Michigan University (WMU), studying entrepreneurship, and playing football,” Bosma said.
Bosma has continuously developed his athletic abilities in each sport he plays.
“We are most proud of Blake’s passion and his level of competition. He loves to compete and will put it all out on the court. He may not be the most skilled basketball player on the court, but no one will out work him,” Wendy said.
To his team, Bosma says, “Keep working hard and believe in yourself.”
“Blake, thanks for proving to us that it is always okay to take a risk. Perfection is not the goal, growing and using your gifts is. We couldn’t be more proud of who you are and what you stand for. It has been a complete joy watching you compete. Keep being you! Love, Mom and Dad.”
#23 Kegan Garcia:
Sr. Kegan Garcia has played basketball for ten years.
“Kegan has become a much more confident player and leader this year in basketball and in life. Kegan has adapted to all of the changes and I fully trust he will be a big asset to our community even after high school,” mother Dee Garcia said.
Garcia’s favorite memory from his basketball career was beating Rockford after battling through four overtimes his sophomore year.
“Kegan and the team were up against so many obstacles this year and didn’t even know if they were going to have a season, but he almost always stayed positive about whatever might happen and to embrace the changes as they came,” Dee said.
For many players, including Garcia, the ideals of the team is more important than the game itself.
“He has always enjoyed the team aspect of the game and has become very close to some teammates, that as his mom, I can only hope will be lifelong relationships,” Dee said.
To his team, Garcia says, “Cherish every moment because it can all be taken away so quickly.”
After high school, Garcia will attend Grand Valley State University to study sports management.
“There are no words to express how proud of you I am. You are going to do so many amazing things and I can’t wait to be right alongside you for it all. I pray that you continue to be confident in who you are and Whose you are. Always put God first and the rest will fall into place. I will always have your back and be in your corner no matter what. I love you more than you will ever be able to understand.”
#24 Alex Toth:
Sr. Alex Toth has been playing basketball for ten years.
“Alex has loved the game of basketball since he played with a mini hoop duct taped to the basement wall back when he was four years old,” his mother Debbi Toth said.
Toth’s favorite memory of his basketball career is being a member of the JV team that beat Rockford in four overtimes.
“What makes me so proud of him is how he worked hard at it and played for hours – in the basement in the winter, to the driveway in the summer – just to keep improving. He always wanted to play in high school and never lost sight of his goal,” Debbi said.
After graduating, Toth plans to attend Michigan State University where he will continue his academic and lacrosse career.
“Playing sports at the varsity level has really helped Alex to understand that he wants to play sports in college. While it won’t be basketball, it will be a team sport that is similar in effort and focus and requires the same level of hard work and dedication,” Debbi said.
Toth would like to tell his teammates, “Don’t let any time with the team go to waste. Make every second count and appreciate all of it.”
“Alex, these past nine years watching you play West Ottawa basketball has become a way of life I never knew I needed. What started out as a bunch of little guys with shorts that were too long, all running down the court bumping into each other while trying to master a dribble, and only came together because us moms got the little panthers flyer out of your backpack and signed you up. Never would I have imagined that sitting in those bleachers cheering you on year after year would help me to learn what you truly were made of and meant for. The lessons you learned on that court and the coaches that pushed you, further than you thought you could go some days, would be some of the best role models and best seasons of your life. When you came home sweaty and exhausted, I worried that you were working too hard and maybe suffering a little too much to master this game. What I most likely missed was the smile
on your face and in your heart as what you were accomplishing with the boys you were sweating alongside were the brothers you needed. It’s really hard and sad to see this chapter end for you as it will end for me too. I know you will take these lessons, memories and these friendships forward and never forget that these years were the best years.”
#33 Dominic Overway:
Sr. Dominic Overway has played basketball for as long as he can remember.
The best memory of Overway’s career is the team making it all the way to the district finals this year.
His parents have seen him spend many years practicing and perfecting his skills.
After his time at West Ottawa has come to an end, Overway hopes to continue his football career into his college experience.
Overway’s parents are proud of his athletic development and are excited to see how his future will unfold.
Overway’s advice to the team is, “Always remember to have fun, because if you don’t, the season will drag on.”
“We are proud to have watched Dominic grow in his dedication, drive, and confidence both on and off the court. We hope his love and appreciation for sports continues throughout life. Dom, we cannot wait to see what you can do next! Love, Dad and Mom.”
#55 Evan Heinz:
Sr. Evan Heinz has played basketball since he was in seventh grade.
His mother fondly remembers the beginnings of his basketball career.
Heinz’s favorite memory of basketball is beating Rockford in four overtimes.
After high school, Heinz plans to attend a four year university, although he has still not decided where he would like to go or what he would like to study.
Heinz’s mother is ecstatic to see where he goes next and what he will accomplish in the future, she is confident that his hard work will prove worthwhile.
To the team, Heinz says, “I would advise the team and future players to play like it’s your last one because it’s gone before you know it.”
These boys are incredibly admired by their families and their team.
“This senior group has been fun to coach, even with all the COVID restrictions,” Head Coach Steve Windemuller said. “They love to compete at a high level and love to win. They are very accepting of the underclassmen and have taken a leadership role in leading this team to the success they have earned.”
Thank you seniors for your dedication to the team and drive for success, the Panthers look forward to cheering you on in the next chapters of your lives.