New Franklin senior Gavin Bishop couldn’t predict that his final year in basketball would turn out to be his best.
Although the Bulldogs won their first district title in years with Bishop being a junior, it was not even close to Bishop’s senior year as New Franklin finished 27-2 with its second district title in as many years.
A four-year starter in basketball for the Bulldogs, it’s easy to see why Bishop picked this sport to be his favorite.
As the MVP of the conference this past season, Bishop also earned all-district two years running not to mention he was all-state in Class 2 and academic all-state. He was also named to the KRES All-Star Team and KMZU Dream Team.
“Basketball just feels more competitive and I liked the fast pace of the game,” Bishop said.
Of course when Bishop isn’t playing basketball or pitching and playing shortstop for New Franklin, he said he likes to fish, cruise around with his friends, play video games and swim.
Bishop will attend the University of Missouri-Columbia in the fall but is undecided on a major.
As for finishing 27-2 on the season with its only losses coming to Slater and Eugene (Sectionals), Bishop said it felt like the team had a bull’s-eye on its back night in and night out.
“We always managed to do what we do best, which was just keep going,” Bishop said. “I wouldn’t say that we had any game where we were like “oh my gosh” this is not going very well, we knew what we could do and we were going to do it and get it done.”
Bishop definitely got it done this season for New Franklin while averaging 18.6 ppg along with 7.8 rpg and 2.7 apg. He also shot 56 percent from two point range, 33 percent from the three-point arc and 76.2 percent from the foul line.
Bishop also had it going on in the first round of the Glasgow Tournament, which is usually held the first or second week of the season. In that game, Bishop scored 32 points and said everything that he was doing was working and felt awesome.
As for the highlight of his career, Bishop said it was scoring his 1,000th point against Brunswick and winning back to back district titles.
Despite falling short against Eugene in the sectional round of the state playoffs, Bishop said he will miss being with everybody and the team bonding. “There was just something about basketball that I liked,” Bishop said. “I guess I just liked being able to play.”
Of course Bishop wasn’t too bad on the diamond, either.
As the No. 1 pitcher for the Bulldogs and starting shortstop when he wasn’t on the mound, the senior hurler finished the fall season with a record of 2-3 with an ERA of 3.36 with 41 strikeouts and 13 walks in 33 1/3 innings. He also hit .372 with a slugging percentage of .674 and on base percentage of .471. He finished with 3 home runs, 9 RBI, 16 runs and 28 assists.
New Franklin baseball coach Erich Gerding said Bishop was tremendous.
“I thought Gavin really progressed this past fall,” Gerding said. “He got a lot more confidence in what he was doing and got a little stronger. I thought he had a great season this past fall as far as defensively, offensively and on the mound. I think he was really looking forward to the spring this year so he could even build on that.”
While playing baseball for 3 1/2 year for the Bulldogs, Bishop was named all-conference and all-district two years running.
Bishop said he would say the same thing about baseball that he did about basketball. He liked being with his teammates.
“We used to do a lot of fun stuff during practices and games so just doing silly stuff like that,” Bishop said. “I just liked playing with my friends and just having fun and then of course try to win a few games along the way.”
Bishop also had a plethora of memorable moments for the Bulldogs. But none compared to the combined no-hitter with Koy Harris as a junior in the opening round of the district playoffs. He said had the Bulldogs beaten Higbee by the 15-run rule in three innings, he would have been the winning pitcher.
“I had to stay under 30 pitches, but I went through three innings and we didn’t 15 run rule them,” Bishop said. “I ended up getting a combined no-hitter with Koy. Another game that stood out was against Prairie Home, where I went 5-for-5 my sophomore year. I’ve also hit some home runs surprisingly-two to be exact. We were playing New Bloomfield and it was a 0-0 game in the bottom of the sixth and I hit a home run at home. That was my first home run at home and we won the game 1-0.”
As for career highlights, Bishop said it was finishing with 290 strikeouts in his career-which is second best in school history. He said former New Franklin standout Tyler Hull had something like 400.
“Another highlight for me was this past fall,” Bishop said. “We had our first winning season so I was really looking forward to the spring to see what we could do.”
Unfortunately for Bishop, the spring season never came for the Bulldogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bishop said it was disappointing not getting to play in districts and see if New Franklin was good enough to finally move on.
“I haven’t won a district title in baseball,” Bishop said. “We were close to winning conference last year but we lost to Pilot Grove in the last game. Had we won that game, we would have tied Cairo. I think not getting to play that final game was also disappointing.”
As far as what he will miss the most about playing baseball at New Franklin, Bishop said it’s probably taking batting practice in the cage. He said the team usually liked to mess around-well not really mess around-but challenge each other.
“He said he always liked to give Crayton Gallatin a hard time because he would brag about hitting home runs in batting practice, but we would kid him about not being able to do it in the game,” Bishop said. “It was that kind of fun with my teammates.”
All in all, Bishop said he thought he had a good career at New Franklin. He said the only thing that he wishes he could have done was to make it to the Final Four in basketball and having a banner.
“If we would have done that that would have been like the cherry on top of everything,” Bishop said. “Honestly, I’m going to miss everything about New Franklin like the community and walking the halls and talking to everybody. I knew every single person usually in the gym or on the baseball field.”
Bishop is set to graduate and walk the halls for the final time on June 20. With a limit of 10 family members per student, Bishop said it’s just going to be weird not having a normal graduation. He said you usually want as many people there as possible that can see you.
“It’s definitely going to be different,” Bishop said. “I would have loved to have been with my friends in the classroom and just being able to walk around the halls your senior year. You want to be able to do that, and usually like the day before we graduate the seniors get to walk through the elementary and say goodbye to the kids. That was cool because I would have been walking down with my brothers and friends and people that you know just from family friends and stuff like that, which would have been nice.”
Since Bishop has been out of school, he said he has been doing the daily chores like feeding the chickens, helping around the house with the yard work, laying mulch and fixing stuff. He has also played a lot of basketball, baseball and football with his brothers.
Bishop said he is ready for college but it’s not the normal senior year and feels weird with how everything is ending.
“I’m going to miss the silly string wars,” Bishop said. “There are so many things that happened that it gets wrapped up and you forget it, but then you remember it like when something happens to you and you are like “wow” I remember that. Scoring my 1,000th point was also special because it was on the same night at Tyler (Perkins) and that was fantastic. It was just a good career all-around winning back to back district titles and then winning 27 games.”