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Texline’s Will Luther signs with Wayland Baptist

By SHAWN YORKS
Dalhart Texan

Anybody who has followed Texas high school basketball for the past two years knows Will Luther. The Texline senior dominated the state his junior and senior years, leading the Texline Tornadoes to the 2021 Class 1A State Championship and a 2022 state runnerup finish. Those high school accomplishments culminated Thursday when Luther signed a letter intent to play basketball at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview.

“First of all, I want to thank God, for with him, all things are possible,” Luther said during an assembly at Texline School. “Secondly, I want to thank my family for unwavering support and encouragement they have provided throughout this journey.”

In Luther’s four years on the Texline varsity basketball team the Tornadoes compiled a 91-22 record, won the 1A state championship in 2021 over Slidell, and was 2022 state runnerup, falling to Graford 42- 39 this past March 12 in the Alamodome. All the while, the 6-foot-4 strong forward was the 2021 and 2022 Texas Class 1A Player of the Year, the 2021 and 2022 District Most Valuable Player and the 2021 State Tournament MVP.

Those are impressive accomplishments on the basketball court, but Will Luther is more than that.

“Will grew up tremendously from his freshman year to his sophomore year up through his junior and senior year and you could see it right before your eyes,” said Texline head coach Coby Beckner. “Not only is he a really good basketball player but he’s a really good person and that means way more than being a good basketball player because we really try our best to balance that fine line between being competitive and having that competitive spirit and at the same time trying to help these young men navigate their way through the challenges that they have today and I think Will - whether he bumped into a wall or he made a mistake - he took a step back and he grew from it and I think that’s the thing we all have to understand - that failure or setbacks are not permanent.”

Wayland Baptist University Assistant Basketball Coach Justin Graham and graduate assistant coach Devin Carter made the 3-hour drive from Painview to Texline for Luther’s signing - the only athlete they did that for.

“We just wanted to stress how special this is to us, it’s not just special to Will and his family, this is a big deal for us to be able to add a guy to our program that’s a winner, one of the best players in the entire state of Texas,” Graham said. “This is a huge deal for us.”

Luther is the only high school player Wayland is adding to its varsity program.

“We’re trying to add guys like this to our program, guys that are special (and) it’s clear he’s special, you see what kind of support that he’s gotten from his family, his coaches, Graham added.”

The coaches and Luther himself stressed how important the school and community of Texline have been for him.

“Will would be the first to tell you the reason we got there (to the state championships) wasn’t because of Will, the reason was because of the teammates, and Will tried hard to try to make his teammates better,” Beckner said. “And if you can do that (for) your classmates, your teammates, your siblings then that’s really what life’s about.”

Luther also thanked his teammates, the student body and Texline community.

“I will never forget the memories we made together, the lessons we learned and the successes and sorrows we shared as a team,” he said. “Thank you for believing in me. When someone lifts you up and believes you can do great things, it just drowns out voices of self-doubt. I will always be forever grateful that I was first a Texline Tornado and now I’m ready to be a Wayland Pioneer.”

To the younger kids gathered in the Texline auditorium Thursday, Luther had some final words of advice.

“To all of you younger kids who have big dreams, chase them,” he said. “Just because we live in Texline doesn’t mean we can’t be big things in life. Go after what you want in life but don’t be afraid to work for it. Anything worth having is worth working for.”

Beckner said Luther is a ‘Living example of learning.’

“Will’s not afraid to fail, just look at the last two years of the state championship game,” Beckner said. “His junior year, he had some real courage to take those shots at the end of the game - in the Alamodome - and made them. This year, he had the courage to take that shot at the end - it just didn’t go in.

“That’s the fine line between winning a state championship and being runner-up, but it wasn’t because Will bowed down or froze when the pressure was the highest - he scored 25 of our 39 points in the Shawn Yorks/Dalhart Texan state championship game - he carried us a long way.”

Wayland Baptist went 19-13 this past season, falling to Southwestern Assemblies of God University at the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament in Oklahoma City, March 1. Wayland competes in the Sooner Athletic Conference with Southwestern Christian University, Mid-America Christian University (Okla.), Langston University (Okla.), Central Christian College (Kan.), Oklahoma City University, John Brown University (Ark.), the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, University of North Texas-Dallas, Southwest Assemblies of God in Waxahachie and Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell.

Eta Upsilon hosts 20th Annual Golf Scramble

Eta Upsilon hosted its 20th Annual Golf Scramble at Twisted Elms Golf Club on Sunday May 15. A large number of two-person teams played in the scramble. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to Frames of Love, Tri-State Wildlife, and the Eta Upsilon Scholarship Fund.