Holdman’s time in Wise was short, but showstopping

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, December 31, 2016

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For two seasons, Keenan Holdman dazzled Bridgeport fans and the rest of the Wise County with his ability to create breathtaking plays on the football field and basketball court.

But even more impressive was Holdman’s drive and willingness to lead in any situation.

“He was the one we looked up to in a time of need,” explained teammate Jacob DelAngel.

DOMINATING – Keenan Holdman impacted Wise County athletics during his brief tenure at Bridgeport. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The electric receiver and kickoff returner followed up his earning Wise County All-Purpose Player of the Year by quickly rejoining the defending 4A state champion basketball team.

But it was a different team with 4A state tournament MVP Caleb Smith playing at prep school in Massachusetts and Devonte Patterson out of the lineup much of the early part of the season waiting for an eligibility issue to be cleared by the University Interscholastic League.

Holdman had to change roles, taking over as point guard and being asked to provide more offense.

Holdman adjusted, and after some trying times early in the season, he helped the Bulls go on an 18-game winning streak. During the streak, he helped Bridgeport beat Decatur twice in the Big Sandy basketball battles. He scored 22 in the first meeting, and after missing a pair of games with an ankle injury, returned to the lineup to score 16 in a 63-52 victory.

After winning a second straight district title, the Bulls started their state title defense with a blowout of Alvarado.

Bridgeport then met Wichita Falls Hirschi in an area-round doubleheader at Midwestern.

The Bulls fell behind early before battling back to erase a 12-point deficit and taking a lead at the end of the third quarter. They then went cold, going scoreless for all but the final 12 seconds of the final frame in a 48-40 upset loss to end their reign atop 4A.

After the loss, Holdman again showed his leadership, standing out front to answer questions on what just happened and the experience of the past two years.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Holdman said then. “We had a blast as a team. We consider each other family. We’ve had great fan support the last two years. We’ve enjoyed it.”

In July, Holdman was honored not only for those exploits on the court and gridiron, but also his leadership as the Wise County Male Athlete of the Year.

Holdman is now on the court playing as a freshman for Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton. The guard is averaging 10.5 minutes per night with 3.1 points and 1.6 rebounds.

“Transition to college ball has been good so far,” Holdman said. “It’s a lot faster than the high school game, but I’ve enjoyed it and continuing to learn the game. It’s different in terms of the speed of the game and just understanding how college basketball works, like learning and grasping defensive strategies.”

From saying goodbye to high school basketball and earning prestigious honors to starting college, Holdman admits it’s been a crazy year.

“Basketball ended, but I got over it quickly because of the journey for college was the next step,” he said. “I enjoyed high school athletics, especially winning that state title. College has been good to me, and I’ll keep improving and getting better.”

Scary words for opponents from what he showed in his two years at Bridgeport – two short years that left Wise County, and especially Bridgeport, with a lifetime of memories.

Richard Greene is the Messenger’s sports editor.

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