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