TOPEKA — One night after practice, Westview coach Rob Yoder dropped in on a junior high basketball game next door.
He watched Westview fail time and time again to break the press until an undersize point guard was given orders to dribble around the entire opposing team. Jordyn Bontrager did just that, skirting all five opponents and shattering the full-court defense.
"That is our next really good point guard," Yoder mused at the time. "He is going to be really good and special."
Fast forward five years, and Bontrager is still single-handily breaking presses as a senior for Westview. But he's more than his speed. Yoder says Bontrager leads the 17-4 Warriors in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals — "just about everything there is to lead us in."
Bontrager became an artist of the game, painting masterpieces with every wild play he's pieced together. He's a self-described "calm player," coolly gliding across the canvas, creating points out of an otherwise broken-down play.
"I think (his) legacy will be the number of times he's made plays on the floor and all the coaches have been — 'Wow,'" Yoder said. "A lot of people make that play one time in their career, and he just has a knack for these plays on the defensive and offensive end.
"He has the capability to make these plays almost with regularity. The fact that he can make such difficult plays look easy and do it with such frequency, that's what I'll remember the most."
Bontrager wrapped up his junior year averaging 11.3 points per game, doing most of his damage passing the ball instead of shooting it. But after the graduation of Kyle Miller and Nic Raber and returning high-scorer Chandler Aspy's illness at the beginning of the year, Bontrager's expectations grew.
"I knew I'd have to step up and expand my role even more," he said. "That first game, I looked for my shot a lot more."
It's paid off for Bontrager, who now averages a team-high 18.7 points per game. He wrapped up the regular season with a 30-point performance in an overtime win against Concord.
Already a two-time sectional champion, Bontrager is itching for a chance to atone for last year's sectional championship loss to LaVille.
"I don't want to look back and think I didn't get to win the sectional championship my senior year," he said. "I want to go out with a bang."
Westview opens its sectional against Central Noble (2-18), a team the Warriors beat 70-31 in the regular season. If the Warriors advance, they will host a grudge match with LaVille (10-9) in the semifinal.
"I guess we're kind of looking for revenge," he said of the Lancers. "We're not looking past Central Noble, but we really want to play LaVille. I've been thinking about them a lot lately."
Whether revenge is in order or not, Bontrager enters what will likely be the final stretch of his basketball career.
Like any good artist, he knows when it's time to put the brush down. Though he could likely play for several colleges in the area, Bontrager is ready for a fresh start. His sights are set on Indiana University, where he plans to major in marketing and business.
"I want to start over in college and focus on my schoolwork since that's more important in the future," he said. "I know I'm going to miss it, but at this point, I don't think I'm going to play in college. I don't know. You never want to rule anything out."