Don’t call the the Travis Rebels underdogs, at least when it comes to boys basketball.
In a taut District 25-5A contest Friday at Travis High School, the Rebels lost a heartbreaker to visiting Dripping Springs 53-51. Travis (17-12, 7-6) leaned on intense half-court defense to build an 11-point halftime lead, but Dripping Springs (21-5, 11-2) relentlessly pounded the offensive boards to rally for the win.
The game between two teams bound for the postseason certainly had a playoff feel. Each shot and every stop seemed as if it could determine the outcome of the game, and every loose ball was followed by a crash of bodies fighting for possession.
Travis and Dripping Springs battled on even footing this season while splitting their two games. Such competitiveness starkly contrasts with football, as the American-Statesman documented in an October story that explored the discrepancies on the gridiron between schools with a high student poverty rate and their wealthier foes.
But basketball is different, said Travis senior Jaylen Crayton.
“It’s not about the money,” said Crayton, who had 13 points and seven rebounds against Dripping Springs. “It’s about how we compete, and we have to have that mindset. We just outwork everybody. Our work ethic, we’re just trying to be better than every team in the district. To see that hard work we put in, it’s paying off.”
Travis, a South Austin campus at which 77.3% of students are economically disadvantaged, according to a database compiled by the Texas Tribune, has secured its first playoff berth since 2014 and its first winning record since 2013. Travis is one of four Class 5A Austin schools with more than 70% of its students designated as economically disadvantaged. Two of the others — LBJ and Northeast — have also qualified for the playoffs.
Unlike football, such success is common for poorer schools in boys basketball.
The reasons are simple, say area coaches and administrators. Fewer kids are needed for a successful basketball team. Two or three talented and committed basketball players can help meld a playoff contender. In f... Click here to read full article