New coach Kovar fairly familiar with Dawg ways
THORNDALE—As a 1995 Thorndale graduate, John Kovar is more than a little familiar with the Bulldog sports culture, which includes seven state championships spanning three different sports—two in basketball.
So while the basketball team is under the direction of a new leader, he certainly is no newcomer.
Kovar, 38, replaced Doug Franklin who left after five years and a 91-52 record with two playoff appearances and one playoff win.
The easy-going Kovar has had head coaching experience before at Shepard and Lexington. He was the offensive coordinator at Rockdale for several of his seven years there before moving over at the end of last school year.
He also led Lexngton to a state championship in track in 2005.
“I expect us to go out and compete in every game,” he said. “I expect us to always play the game as one unit. I am really pushing the team concept in basketball. So far they are a fun group to coach and they are great kids.”
Bartlett, who lost just two seniors off last year’s squad, is the 26A favorite. Thorndale is picked fourth.
The Bulldogs return three of their top five scorers in Riley Schaefer, Jordan Hafley and Eric Hinistroza.
Floor leader Schaefer (firstteam all-district) averaged 10.4 points a game last season along with 4.2 rebounds.
Hafley led the Bulldogs in scoring at 10.8 and three pointers with 19 and was selected the district’s sixth man of the year.
Hinistroza put up 6.9 points and 4 rebounds a game.
Other veterans include 6-foot-3 senior Lorenzo Llana (4.4 rebs), 6-1 junior Dalton Robertson and 6-0 senior Troy Schneider.
Newcomers include senior Eric Guzman, junior Dillon Bankston and sophomore Bradley Betak.
The rookie who is catching everyone’s attention is sophomore Americo Vazquez who has emerged as the Bulldogs go-toguy and is their leading scorer at 15 points a game.
“He has the potential to be a real good player.”