MANOR, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - The Manor high school basketball team was welcomed Wednesday like champions. The players were lead through the school hallways by cheerleaders and the band.
The procession was both overwhelming and inspiring. An example of the strong bond the players and the students have according to team captain Jamel Shead. “We grew together everybody in this town came up together and we’re putting it on for this town.”
The team powered through a tough 5A District schedule. The victories this season earned Manor High School its first ever trip to the state championship tournament.
School principal Jon Bailey wanted to make sure the entire student body could share in the accomplishment. “Because we are making history not only are we making history but a chance to observe our students make history that will be talked about for years to come,” said Bailey.
For team coach Anthony Swain, its more than a walk through campus on the way to a game it’s part of a personal journey. “Those were the same hallways that I walked down about 15 years ago and to finally get to this point it is a great feeling,” said Swain.
Along Highway 290, family, friends and fans lined up and cheered as the team bus headed toward San Antonio. The big sendoff is not just about the big game. Manor is no longer a small farming community so the celebration in a way is also about staking claim to an identity.
10 years ago there were less than 7,000 people living in Manor. Now, there are more homes, more businesses and a population of about 18,000. A report released last month estimates by next year the town will surpass the 20,000 mark. “We’re starting to call it Manor USA,” said Bailey.
Bailey joined the district about 8 years ago has seen the growth firsthand. He believes the school district has played a major role in making it happen. “It surprises me but I embrace it I enjoy it and I love it because Maner ISD has truly become a destination district and it’s motivational and inspiring because we have more students that we can serve and prepare for success,” said Bailey.
After boarding their charter bus, Bailey reminded the team of the life lessons they have learned. “I hope this does boost your spirits the one thing that I saw when I watched you play last week was the level of how humble you were,” said the principal to the team.
As the basketball team headed down the road for the Thursday night game, that character praised by the school principal and town pride will be on showcase on the big stage.