March 5th~Year 6, No 23

nazareth swiftettes state champions

Eric Schilling, coach of the Swiftettes:


Nazareth Swiftettes Win Over Calvert 82 to 41 in Austin


There is no better feeling in the world! I have been so blessed to work with such an awesome group of girls who would do anything for each other! They are the epitome of the word TEAM. They each knew their role and they each worked their tail off to fulfill that role.

I’m so thankful for each of them and all they do! A special thanks to our Nazareth High School Seniors! They set the bar high for those that follow–not only as players, but as leaders too! Again thanks to everyone for the support of this group of girls.

Congratulations to Rebekah VanDijkDeborah VanDijk and Mackenzie Gerber for being named down in Austin to the All Tournament team! I feel sorry for the people who had to decide on that since all were so good.  Also, the Amarillo Globe News chose Kyla Acker for their player of the week: She’s been scoring quietly and effectively all year. Rebecca VanDijk and Kyla are a good tandem. Kyla’s been our most consistent outside shooter. She’s very unselfish as she does a great job of finding the open team mate.

Again, there is really no way to put into words this amazing weekend. Thanks to all the good people in Panhandle for all the support! You have no idea how much it means to me! What a blessing to be a part of Nazareth school and community!  It means so much to all of us! No place like Naz!

Also, I am beyond blessed to be able to experience this with my family at my side!  My daughter, Brynli, has been on cloud 9 throughout all of this — she thinks the world of these girls and I’m so glad she got to experience this! These girls are such good role models and caretakers for all of our kiddos! Brynli got to have the best seat all year in watching this group of girls come together and sacrifice so much in order to achieve this goal.  Obviously, it has been the highlight of the season for me!

Comments of Fans on this State Title 2014:
Kelcee Kleman said: “What an awesome season the Swiftettes had!!! Y’all worked hard, played hard, and most importantly had fun!! Congrats on an amazing year!!!”
Staci Stallings wrote: “AWESOME GAME! Love how you all play together!!!!! The “standout” is you as a TEAM! So great to watch! Congrats to the coaches, staff, and girls!”
John Brooks, penned: “I got to watch the final on TV and as always was amazed by not only your awesomeness as coaches and athletes, but your poise, pride and grace. I am so glad I got to see one more Swiftette state championship. Congratulations to you all.’
John Alan Callarman said: “Wow! 82-41. After Swiftettes handled my Krum Lady Cats in December, I predicted y’all would win. From this WT grad who broadcast boys’ basketball for radio stations in Hereford, Tulia and Pampa 55-to-48 years ago, I say: Congratulations!”

THE CELEBRATING SWIFTETTESthe celebrating swiftettes


gerber barn

Naz folks not in Austin gather at Norm Gerber’s barn to watch game


       Swifts Basketball coach, Nathan Branum, following the Regional win that allowed the team a place in the Austin state finals, praised not only his team but the Nazareth community and his family for their support: “I’m extremely proud of the team and I’m very blessed to share this day with my family and the community of Nazareth!”

Branum continued: “I wanted to get Nazareth back to state.  I’ve been thinking about this since I took the head coaching position here at Nazareth two years ago.  When asked about his feelings about the win, Branum commented: “I don’t think nervous is the word I would use to say how I felt when that happened,” but also added that the game “made us more intense.  We’re a good shooting team with around 40 percent from behind the 3-point line.”

coach nathan branum family

Coach Nathan and wife Amanda with their children displaying trophy for Regional I-1A Div. II Win

three austin bound swifts

Vicente Pena, Lane Birkenfeld, and Braden Wethington hold “ticket” to Austin finals basketball games

The Region I-A Division II semifinals were played at the Texan Dome in Levelland Friday and Saturday.  The Nazareth Swifts played Grady New Mexico boys basketball team with a win of 38-33.  Nazareth led for most of the game, including 25-15 at the half. Nazareth was led by Troy Gerber’s game-high 12 points.

Nazareth then advanced to play Texline, who had beaten Sands 60-50. After being swept by No. 1 Texline in District 3-1A Division II play, the Swifts beat the Tornados, 58-49.  Texline, which won this tournament last season, finished 26-4.

The Swifts jumped out on Texline by scoring the first seven points. Troy Gerber started it off with a 3-pointer 34 seconds into the game. Cole Kleman rebounded on a Grimes miss and scored on the other end to make it 5-0. Hayden Gerber rebounded after a Texline miss and Troy Gerber made two free throws for a 7-0 lead with 6:22 left in the first quarter.  Texline would rally. Grimes hit a 3-pointer to put the Tornados ahead 12-11 with 3:15 left in the first quarter. The Swifts responded with the next nine points. These all came on 3-pointers, two by Braden Wethington and another by Hayden Gerber.  Hayden Gerber’s 3-pointer made it 20-12. Texline’s Aaron Gutierrez hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 20-15 at the end of the first quarter.

Then, Grimes scored to cut it to 20-17 in the second quarter, but that’s as close as the Tornados would get. Nazareth hit two more three-pointers in the second period on the way to a 30-23 halftime lead.

Nazareth benefited when Gutierrez, Texline’s leading scorer, picked up his third foul with 6:22 left in the second quarter, and eventually fouled out with 2:08 left in the game with Nazareth up 52-43.  Texline did cut Nazareth’s lead to five at 54-49 when Grimes hit a 3-pointer with 1:12 left. Texline would cut it no closer.

The Tornados missed two more shots before Lane Birkenfeld hit two free-throws for a 56-49 lead. Wethington led Nazareth with 18 points. Troy Gerber had 17, Hayden Gerber 11, and Kade Kleman 10.

Nazareth (24-12) won the regional title and gained a berth in the Class 1A Division II state semifinals Friday in Austin.  Nazareth 58, Texline 49


Nazareth Community Blood Drive: Tuesday, March 11, 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Community  Hall.  Every eligible donation gets a Hoops Madness t-shirt and a chance on flat screen TV as well as a fajita party from Jorge’s Mexican Bar & Grill!  For donors: Photo ID or Donor ID card and be at least 17 years old; 16 year olds with signed parental permission.



1)    Austin Game Tickets – check school office Wednesday, Thursday.

2)    Austin Bound: School’s Out Thursday at 1 pm and no school on Friday.

3)    Successful Livestock show in San Angelo! Some of the results:

Mason Kleman was 2nd with his BOPB, and Garrison Kleman placed 5th with his Hampshire!



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