WACO (February 21, 2013) -- The La Vega boys basketball team is back in the playoffs. It's about the only thing that's still the same for Austen Bradshaw, its lone returning player from last season's state semi final team.
"It's been a lot different considering we're having height problems and my team last year, we were playing together since we was little and it's just all new teammates now," said senior guard Austen Bradshaw.
Gone are the other 11 players from a team that went 35 and 2 last season. The head coach of the 2011-12 team Clay Cody left to take the same position at Ft. Worth Marcus.
"That was a major difference too," said Bradshaw. "They kind of have the same coaching style, just run and gun, get to the bucket and play defense."
"My thought was rebuilding, we're going to come in, see what we've got and rebuild a program," said first year head coach David Drafahl. "Once I met Bradshaw, Austen. I saw his work ethic, I saw how good of a shooter he was. I thought the sky's the limit."
The sky hasn't been as easy to reach as it was a year ago. Led by Bradshaw the pirates managed to finish 2nd in district 17-3A despite its shortcomings.
"Considering our height problems and we're little compared to everybody, but we matchup with our quickness," said Bradshaw. "Last year we wasn't as fast as this year."
"He comes in everyday early, he's in here shooting after. When the other kids see that, it's infectious because they know he's our best player, and if he's going to work hard, it kind of grows," said Drafahl. "And he's really made some big shots, he's had some big games. I think he's stepped into that role pretty good."
With a team full of new faces, Bradshaw's role has led the Pirates back to the playoffs.
La Vega faces Lufkin Hudson in Madisonville at 7 PM in the area round.