High hopes for SAGU hoops
A Tall Order; Ryan and Bryan Alford
Twin brothers commit to play hoops for Lions
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- “We came into the world like brother and brother; And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another.” - William Shakespeare
Twins have long drawn the affection of the public, dating back to the mythological Apollo and Artemis, the NFL’s Ronde and Tiki Barber and the new humorous hosts of the History Channel’s "United Stats of America," Randy and Jason Sklar.
Add the men’s basketball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
Head Coach Donnie Bostwick signed a pair of tall twin brothers from the Houston area, a city well acquainted with the term “twin towers” (Ralph Sampson, Hakeem Olajuwon). The Dayton News referred to Ryan and Bryan Alford, 6-foot-8 and 6’7” respectively, as the Twin Towers.
The duo played key roles in the upswing of the basketball fortunes at Dayton High School, a team that went 21-14 overall and 7-7 during their senior season. The Broncos were bi-district finalists.
Their season finally ended in a 58-55 defeat at the hands of Nederland H.S., who was 29-7 at the time. The Nederland Bulldogs have been the top team in the area for three years. They trailed the Bronc's by eight early in the fourth quarter before rallying.
With first year Broncos Head Coach Brad Hadnot at the helm (he had been an assistant coach there for nine years), Dayton surpassed their record from the previous season when they battled to a 9-24 mark, including 0-14 ledger in District 19 in Class 4A.
They were picked to finish last, yet surged to make the playoffs!
A 12-win swing and a reduction in setbacks; sliced by 10, will attract attention. So will a set of soaring siblings.
During a 13-3 start, the Broncos showed their clout. In an early 61-55 win over Fort Bend Dulles H.S., Ryan Alford (ALL-forhd) scored 17 points, ripped down seven boards and denied eight shots with a rejection. It was a prelude of things to come!
Coach Hadnot spoke highly of the Alford brothers, referring to them as “dynamic athletes with great shot blocking abilities.” With their presence on the interior, the Dayton program made the playoffs for the first time in several years.
By rotating the twosome, Hadnot was able to make certain that opponents had to account for at least one of the high-risers for all 32 minutes their games. “They created problems for every team that we played,” the coach pointed out.
“The Twins are both well mannered,” he added. Ryan and Bryan are “…hard working kids with great personalities. I have a feeling they will both be very successful at the next level.”
Twin One: Ryan Alford, 6'8
Ryan’s play as a senior garnered the respect of coaches who voted him the Defensive Most Valuable Player of District 19 as well as naming him on the All-District First Team.
The Broncos' team captain averaged 14 points per game while grabbing nine rebounds and swatting six shots per contest.
Ryan’s work ethic and inner-motor drives him towards achievement.
“It takes a lot of work to elevate your game to another level,” he said. “Coach Hadnot constantly demanded our best. I am up to the challenge of playing at a high level at SAGU.”
Twin Too! Bryan Alford, 6'7
Bryan, a 6’7 power forward, netted six points, five boards and blocked three shots a game and earned a selection on the All-District Honorable Mention list.
“Having the opportunity to coach a player with his athleticism, mental toughness and willingness to come off the bench was instrumental in our turn around this season,” Hadnot said in a recent interview in the Dayton News.
“His defensive presence helped make a difference in the re-emergence of the Bronco basketball.”
The Alford combo will now take their fraternal game to a Christian college that they seem perfectly fitted. Their immediate impact may be policing the paint by gobbling up caroms and changing the shots of the opposition.
"Ryan and Bryan both blossomed as the year progressed," commented Hadnot. "They were an integral part to our pressing, trapping defense. We'd funnel everything towards those guys and they would change or block every shot that our opponents took in the lane. We held opponents to 50 points per game due to the defensive abilities of the twins."
The duo comes from a Christian family, which “…makes them a great fit at SAGU,” Coach Bostwick said to the Dayton News. Of course, “…we’re looking forward to their skills on the court. We know they are here for an education, first and foremost, and graduation is the ultimate goal.”
And playing together makes Waxahachie an extension of Dayton, though a steep upgrade. One thing very evident by now, when it comes to elevated play, these young men are two-riffic!
Dayton High School production line
The Alford twins hail from the same prep school of a name familiar to SAGU fans. Wide Receiver David Howard, who just graduated, finished his career as the Lions' all-time leader in receptions and touchdowns.
"He played football, basketball, track, and baseball here at Dayton," said Hadnot. "He is a great athlete as well as a great person."
About Lions Basketball
SAGU is a dual Division I member of both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
There are about 300 schools who field men’s basketball teams in the NAIA while there are 106 members in the NCCAA, where the Lions finished third in the national tournament in March.
The Lions compete in the 15-member Red River Athletic Conference, which has teams from Texas (11), Oklahoma (2), New Mexico (1) and Louisiana (1). Three men’s teams from the RRAC qualified for the NAIA national, 32-team tournament.
Behind Coach Bostwick, who was in his first year at Southwestern, SAGU had the largest turnaround in the nation. The squad went from 12-21 to 27-11. They were 16-8 in league play (4th place).
The purple and gold hoopsters made their mark by playing very effective defense, owning the offensive glass (sixth in the NAIA), knocking down nearly 10 three-pointers per game (3rd in the nation) and with a style on the court best described as "all-out." Taking charges was just one of a myriad of ways they hustled their way to extra possessions.
SAGU will again broadcast all of their home games in high-definition starting in January. The SAGU Sports Network allows fans to follow the Lions with the best production in the NAIA.
Beginning this season, the digital play-by-play account of all home games will be available to fans via LiveStats.
Like the HD livestream, LiveStats is accessible at no charge to fans.
The Lions will tip-off their 30-game regular season with a home debut on November 6 against Dallas Christian College. The complete schedule will be released this summer.
The team will host a huge non-conference game during Thanksgiving weekend. Nationally ranked Westmont College will tangle with the Purple Pride on Saturday, Nov. 24. The Warriors were 19-9 last season. Their campus is located in Santa Barbara, between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
SAGU will again host the RRAC tournament from February 28 through March 2.