DC West ends 3 seniors' FCHS basketball careers

Bouwman leaves program as its all-time leading scorer


The Fort Calhoun crowd stood and clapped as the boys basketball starters left the floor late during Tuesday's Class C1-4 Subdistrict Tournament game at Omaha Concordia.
Among the Pioneers welcomed to the bench for the final minutes were seniors Grayson Bouwman and Declyn Otte, who — with fellow 12th-grader Morgan Ishii — played in FCHS colors for the final time against second-seeded Douglas County West.
The Falcons (21-2 overall) ended the seniors' last stand with a 52-29 victory. It was just the Pioneers' fifth loss in 23 games this season.
“Ran into a good ballclub tonight,” Calhoun coach TJ O'Connor said. “Didn't play very well.”
Travis Skelton scored the game's first bucket, but it was all DC West from there. It scored 12 straight points before Skelton's made 3-pointer off of a press break.
The Falcons even answered that, though, with their own long-range basket.
Down 20-10 after one quarter, both Bouwman and Otte scored layups during the second period, but it was far from what the Pioneers needed to keep up with their opposition. DC West led 34-14 at halftime and extended its lead to as many as 25 points during the second 16 minutes.
“Like I told the kids in there, 18-5 is a great year,” O'Connor said after addressing his players in the locker room. “And I don't want them to have this be their lasting memory.”
It'd be a shame for the seniors, who were in the program for 2022's history-making state tournament qualification and so much more success since the fall of 2020.
“I'm proud of all three of those kids,” O'Connor said. “They've done things that nobody in Fort Calhoun's done before.”
Ishii, Otte and Bouwman all took different routes to their final game, too. Ishii started as a reserve player and ended with game time against the Falcons, but only with the result long decided.
“He's a dying breed in high school athletics,” O'Connor said. “Most kids, when they don't play by the time they are a sophomore or junior, they just quit — find some reason to not go out.”
Not Ishii.
“He just stuck through it,” O'Connor said. “All the way through his senior year.”
Otte, meanwhile, contributed as a junior, but, ultimately, earned the vast majority of his varsity playing time during a productive senior campaign.
“He came on this year and played 25-, 26-minutes a game for us,” his coach explained. “We're certainly not where we are without him.”
Bouwman, though, was a constant from the start. The all-time FCHS scoring leader leaves as, arguably, the basketball program's best and most-consistent player.
“Being apart of this program is something I'll never get to be apart of again,” the Class C1 all-stater said. “Thanks to Coach O'Connor for coming in and setting the standards here for everyone. It's been wonderful playing with all of the guys.”
The coach, however, gave Bouwman credit for the standard he set at FCHS.
“(Grayson) sets all the records, but, what I'll remember him for more than anything is the standard,” O'Connor said. “I've never seen a high school kid work as hard and be as dedicated to what he is dedicated to.”
Bouwman is set to continue his basketball career at Morningside University in Sioux City, Iowa, next school year.
“Everybody gets to see the records and the result on the floor, but nobody sees what he does behind the scenes,” O'Connor explained. “He has absolutely earned every single thing he's gotten.”
The senior, who led the Pioneers with 11 points Tuesday, made it sound as if it was all his pleasure.
“Practices are fun. Games are fun. Everyone gets along,” Bouwman said, describing his FCHS experience. “I'm going to miss this team, but they're going to be good in the future, so I'm excited to come back and watch them.”
No. 4 on the roster sheet believes Fort Calhoun basketball will be “really good for a long time.”

No. 4 Douglas County West 52, Fort Calhoun 29
FCHS (18-5) 20 14 9 9 — 52
DCW (21-2) 10 4 6 9 — 29
Scoring: FCHS — Grayson Bouwman 11, Travis Skelton 5, Declyn Otte 4, Colby Bentley 4, Dylan Keyser 3, Chase Premer 2.
DCW — Ryker Wohlers 11, Came Wiese 10, Nolan Asher 10, Drake Travis 8, Will Bergsten 5, Karsten Alexander 3, Trent Guardipee 3, Trey Schieber 2.

Fort Calhoun boys basketball