UPDATE — Strong senior class helps lead Bob Hope to championship game

Published 7:00 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

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Bob Hope High School basketball players support one another.

It’s a team culture led by their head coach and a deep roster that features eight seniors.

Playing time can be limited for younger players and even seniors don’t get all their desired court run. Yet, head coach Rodney Lamb said everyone buys into the “family” concept.

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“When you are family, you root for your family member, even when things aren’t quite going as you’d like on a personal level,” he said. “I am proud as a coach that I have seen no jealousy in this area, only encouragement of one another, which is a tough thing to do for teenagers at times.”

That team-first approach did a heck of a lot more than create good vibes. It also propelled the squad to a 22-7 regular season record, which equaled a school record for wins accomplished last season.

Bob Hope was also a perfect 10-0 in district action while securing the district championship title.

According to Lamb, the key to the team’s regular season success and their calling for a deep playoff run is defense.

The defensive-minded coach believes everything begins on that and translates to the offensive side of the action.

“If the guys play the type of defensive that we are capable of, there is no doubt in my mind that we will be state champions when it is all said and done this postseason,” he said.

Alijah Airivabere and Daniel Canales have been the squad’s leading scorers throughout 2023-24.

Airivabere poured in 47 points in the district championship game vs. Katy Harmony, in which Bob Hope captured the double-overtime win.

The junior averages 22 points per game, and coaches are expecting bigger things from him next season.

Lamb said Canales has been consistent at the power forward position.

“His quiet confidence keeps the team going,” he said.

“Our firecracker of a point guard Juan Tovar has also been a great floor leader for us this year, too.”

The best part of coaching this season, according to Lamb, is seeing his players’ hard work pay off.

When he took over the program four years ago, off-season weightlifting and additional basketball leagues were implemented.

“I feel as though this has helped us tremendously, as our record has improved every single year since the first year,” he said. “The best part of all of this is seeing the looks on my eight seniors’ faces when they realize they have been putting in the hard work since I met them their eighth grade year, and it is paying off for them. We embrace the process, but we know all good things eventually come to an end. Hopefully, that end for their high school career is a state championship.”

Lamb serves Bob Hope High School as a dual credit teacher in addition to his roles as basketball and cross country coach.

Playoff run

Bob Hope High School’s playoff run got off to a great start Thursday with a dominant 82-36 round one victory over Midland TLC Academy.

The win advanced the squad to the semifinals, where Bob Hope again took care of business, winning Friday by a score of 69-53 over Schertz Founders.

Bob Hope High School now plays in the championship game vs. El Paso DaVinci at 3 p.m. Saturday at TMI Episcopal school in San Antonio.