Northeast Times

Mr. Big Shot

Mi­chael Bowl­ers has no prob­lem sink­ing buck­ets. The Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln seni­or net­ted 35 points against Uni­versity City last week.

Start­Frag­ment

Mi­chael Bowl­ers has been shoot­ing a bas­ket­ball since he was old enough to hold one. Wheth­er he was com­pet­ing loc­ally for the Holmes­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter, his Hoop Dreamz AAU squad, or just shoot­ing hoops out­side his house, Bowl­ers al­ways had a bas­ket­ball in his hand.

Now his per­sist­ence is pay­ing off.

Bowl­ers is a seni­or for­ward for the Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School varsity bas­ket­ball team, and he’s lead­ing his squad in scor­ing with more than 17 points per game. Stand­ing 6-feet-7, he is one of the tallest guys in the Pub­lic League, and he’s cer­tainly us­ing that to his ad­vant­age.

“He’s been play­ing really well,” said Lin­coln boss Al Brown. “He leads on and off the court, in prac­tices and in games. He’s a great play­er. He’s been do­ing a lot for us — car­ry­ing a lot of the load.”

Bowl­ers scored a sen­sa­tion­al 35 points against Uni­versity City on Thursday, com­ple­men­ted by 26 re­bounds and five blocks. Un­for­tu­nately, it wasn’t enough to de­liv­er a Railsplit­ters win — they lost, 57-54.

“We let them get an early lead on us,” Brown ex­plained after the loss. “We came back in the second half, but we dug ourselves a deep hole early on.”

Uni­versity City hustled to a quick 13-point lead in the first quarter, hold­ing Lin­coln to just three buck­ets. The Railsplit­ters per­sisted — even claim­ing a very brief lead in the fourth quarter — but it wasn’t enough to claim the W.

Bowl­ers’ 35 points were aug­men­ted by Lin­coln seni­or Jarmel Ken­an and his 10. On Uni­versity City’s side, seni­or Di­ante Lun­sford led his squad with 18 points. Ju­ni­or Qua­h­dire Gor­don scored 14.

“I think we had a good game, be­cause nobody gave up, and I like that,” said Bowl­ers. “It was a good ef­fort.”

Lin­coln has en­dured a tough sea­son thus far, but that hasn’t stopped Bowl­ers from com­ing up big for the Railsplit­ters. Al­though his team is bat­tling through a los­ing 3-7 re­cord, Bowl­ers has av­er­aged more than 17 points per con­test, high­light by an in­cred­ible 45 points dur­ing Lin­coln’s 90-67 vic­tory over Fitz­Si­mons on Jan. 5.

“It’s been tough sea­son but we’re get­ting bet­ter,” said Bowl­ers, who went 16-for-28 against Uni­versity City last week. “I hope that we can make it to the play­offs and be com­pet­it­ive there. We have the tal­ent. We just need to put it all to­geth­er and stay in the game.”

Lin­coln faced Del-Val Charter on Tues­day (the game was played after the Times went to press this week). Next up for the Railsplit­ters is Pub­lic League di­vi­sion­al foe Samuel Fels. The con­test is slated for Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

“I tell my play­ers, ‘When you face ad­versity, this is what makes you stronger and helps you grow. You learn a lot of life les­sons by fight­ing through ad­versity,’” ex­plained Brown. “We get through it like a fam­ily. We go through the hard times to­geth­er and we go through the good times to­geth­er. The main thing I want them to take away from this is to grow and learn and be­come stronger people.”

For Bowl­ers, this sea­son has provided more varsity ex­per­i­ence and al­lowed him to pre­pare for a pos­sible col­legi­ate ca­reer. He has been a varsity play­er for three years, hav­ing av­er­aged 10 points a game last sea­son, and thinks he’ll likely en­roll in a ju­ni­or col­lege and then shoot for a Di­vi­sion-I pro­gram the fol­low­ing year.

“I prac­tice every day. I’m in the gym every day, on the week­ends, just prac­ti­cing con­stantly to get bet­ter,” said Bowl­ers. “I want to keep play­ing in col­lege. I love the com­pet­it­ive nature and I love the game.” ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at myerkov@bsmphilly.com.

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