By: Samantha Bonifas
The Silver Lake Lady Mustang basketball team has always had high standards. A majority of those standards have been set by one man: Keith Crowe. Crowe has been a lifelong community member of Bladen, and a teacher and coach of multiple teams, including football, basketball, and track at Silver Lake. Crowe started coaching Lady Mustang basketball in 1992-1993. “First of all I love the game of basketball. The games can be exciting and so much fun. My favorite parts about basketball are the lifetime memories and relationships that develop. When a group of people come together and actually become a team, everyone works for the same goal and truly doesn’t care who gets the credit as long as the team is successful,” explained Crowe about his enthusiasm for the sport. Throughout his years of coaching, Crowe and his passion for basketball have made him a legend in Mustang country and the surrounding communities. Through 21 seasons, he had a record of 260-192. His biggest accomplishments include putting a class D1 state second place banner on the wall of “The Barn” in 2009 and a class D1 state third place banner on the wall in 2010. After the 2013-2014 season, Crowe decided it was the end of his journey with the Lady Mustangs basketball team and stepped down from coaching. He remained a shop teacher at Silver Lake and started coaching junior high girls basketball in 2018. In the past year, former Lady Mustang basketball coach Josh Drake took the position of the high school principal, leaving the team without a head coach. “I miss basketball. I miss coaching basketball. I miss the relationships that come with coaching. With Mr. Drake stepping down, I knew that I could step in and coach for a couple years,” decided Crowe. Crowe will be head coach of the Lady Mustang basketball team, assisted by Kate Baker and former player Kim Bonifas. In his first year of coaching, Kim (Pavelka) Bonifas was a sophomore guard/forward. Kim remembers Crowe as a passionate coach: “He knew the game, and he had a way of getting the most out of each player. We all wanted to do the best for him and we never wanted to disappoint him, so we tried our hardest.” Crowe even remembers a game in Bonifas’ high school career when he was given a technical for yelling at the ref. It turns out that the man who was actually yelling at the ref was Kim’s father. “I’ve known and respected Crowe for my whole life, as I grew up in Bladen. I am in for whatever we need to do to have a successful season,” commented Bonifas. “I am looking forward to getting to know the girls better. I am also looking forward to coaching games again. I love the competition of the games and trying to figure out what will make us the most successful on the court,” commented Crowe. “My biggest goals for this team is for them to develop team chemistry and team unity. I want this group to become sisters in hoops. Players who actually love and care for each other and will never quit because they play for each other.” The Lady Mustangs begin basketball practice on November 16, with their first game scheduled for December 4 at Deshler. “My other goal is to make this team the best that it can be. I want to be competitive in all games and have a chance to win all games. Wins are great and I hate losing, but if you are playing a good team and you have the opportunity to win that game at the end, that is all a coach can ask for out of his players. I want my players to play at a high level each and every time they step onto a basketball court. You are still a winner if you have given your all but lose to a better team. That is what life is all about. Giving your best effort in all that you do. Years from now most people won’t remember the wins or your record; what will last are the memories and the relationships you and your teammates have created together,” said Coach Crowe.