HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Fourteen Cedar Park athletes commit to continue careers in college

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Josh Baker and Ethan Kieke have been playing basketball together since the second grade and helped the Cedar Park boys’ basketball reach the regional quarterfinals this season. 

Now they’re continuing their on-court partnership at the next level. 

The two basketball players joined 12 other Cedar Park athletes in sighing to continue their athletic careers in college last week when they both committed to play basketball at UT-Permian Basin. 

“They said they loved how we played together and they wanted o keep us together,” Baker said. “That was kind of what sold me. He’s so unselfish and the chemistry is there. I’m excited to see how much we can grow in the future.”

Joining the duo were baseball players Brooks Raby (UT-Dallas), Sam Householder (McMurry) and Ryan Fiala (Tyler Junior College), girls’ basketball players Pujita Shukla (Wellesley) and Alex Maresca (Temple Junior College), football players James Bublitz (Howard Payne), Cole Hollen (Texas Lutheran) and Jacob Munoz (Trinity), softball player Mackenna Raby (UT-Dallas), swimmer Dominic Toledo (Pitt) and cheerleader Maddy Hollen (Texas State).

Baker and Kieke had talked before the season about how fun it would be to play basketball at the same school, and at first, another school in Arkansas offered them both the opportunity to continue playing together. 

While Kieke was on his way home from his visit to Odessa, the staff at UTPB reached out to Baker, and the rest is history. 

“We didn’t really know a lot of what went on with the process,” Kieke said. “You get a Twitter DM from a coach one day and all of a sudden you’re texting them. But what really stuck out about UTPB was how invested they were in what they were doing.”

As is with any recruiting process, the process can be a gauntlet. What started as a direct message on Twitter eventually led to texting and later on visiting the schools in person. 

“It was just a gruesome and long process talking to a lot of coaches,” Baker said. “I’m glad I got to go through with it. A lot of players don’t get that opportunity so I didn’t take it for granted.”

Baker was named to the first-team All-District list, while Kieke was part of the second team as the Timberwolves won the district title, losing just one game during district play. 

“He’s been one of my best friends for as long as I can remember,” Kieke said. “There are times when I don’t even need to see where he is on the court when I pass him the ball. That chemistry really helps.

“I’m going to remember the people at Cedar Park the most. It’s a nice feeling to know you have a community that cares about you like that.”

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Email: sports@hillcountrynews.com

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