It’s no secret that Bellevue has been dominant this season. Actually, it’s been five straight years of 3A supremacy for the Wolverines.
The problem with winning by an average of more than 37 points — as Bellevue has done this season — is the starters don’t necessarily see a lot of playing time. In fact, the starters often don’t play after halftime. So instead of focusing on what they need to accomplish on the field, the first-stringers turn into consummate teammates.
“I just told (the younger players), ‘We have two weeks if everything goes great, so I’m going to try my hardest to coach you guys and you guys can coach me, as well,’ ” senior Budda Baker said. “It’s been a great run with us. We haven’t really been playing; it’s really been the young guys. We’re just trying to give them all our stuff. … So they’re good for next year.”
The Wolverines play at Shadle Park on Saturday in a 3A state semifinal game. If it wins, Bellevue will play for its sixth straight state championship.
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There are plenty of reasons for the success Bellevue has had — a great system, good coaching, talented athletes — but one of the underrated aspects is the willingness of the players to mentor those behind them.
When Baker was younger, the older guys would get on his case if he made a mistake. Nothing bad, he insists, but to let him know he was a part of the team and he mattered.
Now it’s his turn to do the same.
“I just want to accomplish another state championship and get these younger guys a ring, too,” Baker said, “because they worked just as hard, if not harder, than us.”