Brock Netter, Staff Writer
WAVERLY — Travis Robertson has processed an array of different emotions throughout his 15 years as Waverly’s head basketball coach.
But throughout a ton of highs and, admittedly, a few lows over that time, this season has brought something different to the table.
It’s brought a level of joy that he’s never experienced.
And that’s not just because his Tigers will play in a Division II state semifinal in Dayton on Friday. It’s also because of who is on this year’s team — his two sons, Trey and Braylon.
“When I took over the program, these guys were with me every single day in this gym. Probably spent more time there than we did at home,” Travis said. “I always dreamed of this chance to have my two sons and coach them. It’s definitely had its share of challenges balancing both dad and coach, and the three of us have butted heads for sure. But I have to thank basketball because it’s brought us much closer and let me see them grow up in a different way.”
Up until this year, it was just Travis and Trey holding it down at the varsity level. It was a dream come true for for Travis to coach his oldest for three years and their record of success is well-documented.
But behind the wins and away from the court, there was a learning curve that both had to adjust to.
“Trey and I definitely had a couple wars of words during his freshman and sophomore years,” Travis said. “I expect a lot from Trey and he expects a lot from himself. It took some time to figure out how to navigate and operate at home after a game, but we both have grown past it and understand now.”
Trey is the driving force behind what Waverly has been able to accomplish, not just this year, but over the past four as he’s led the Tigers to 77 wins in his career.
He’s lethal with the basketball in his hands, emphasized by his 25 points per game, being a 2,000 point scorer and a two-time Division II District Player of the Year.
Younger brother Braylon, on the other hand, is just starting his varsity career.
It took a season’s worth of work on his end to bring the family’s basketball ties to a full circle.
The freshman guard began the season on the junior varsity team. But he kept his head down and worked his way up the ladder to earn playing time during the second half of the season.
His intensity and relentless nature of the defensive end has carved out a nice role for him — and an instrumental one during the Tigers’ historic postseason run.
“It was tough and there was a lot of work put in. Dad always told me that I wasn’t going to have a spot and that I had to start on JV and earn it,” Braylon said. “But it was pretty exciting to finally get moved up and have this chance to play alongside Trey. I’m always going to play hard, especially defensively and it just brings energy throughout the team. Guys get excited on the bench and our play on the floor picks up.”
Much like Trey, Braylon has also had basketball conversations with his dad away from the basketball court. Those can be heated, but no matter the subject, the end result is always the same.
No conversation that stems from the basketball court can dent the bond Travis has with either of his sons.
“You try as much as you can to leave things at the gym, but honestly, it’s not going to happen,” Travis said. “Basketball has brought us together and we’re all competitors. I try my best to keep the negative at the gym, and it’s taken a lot of work to do so. It’s difficult after a win and a loss because you’re processing everything. But whether I’m getting on them about something or they’re telling me something, at the end of the day, everything is done with love in our hearts.”
Trey and Braylon have shared a ton of moments growing up together, but this season has been one for the record books — and the family album.
With the Tigers ahead 44-42 in a Division II regional final, and in one of the biggest moments in program history, Braylon was fouled and on his way to the free throw line, Trey put his arm around him.
The two traveled to the free throw line together as the veteran scoring machine gave his younger brother a word of wisdom.
Though the captured moment seemed like just another talk between teammates, it capsulized how much closer the brothers have gotten over the season.
“That moment of us walking down together meant everything,” Trey said. “We’ve dreamed and worked our whole lives to play in the state finals. It’s definitely something special to be in a Final 4 with my brother and my other brothers.”
The Robertson trio has helped guide Waverly to 23 wins, a run that includes conference, sectional, district and regional titles so far. That resume could be argued as the best season in Waverly’s hoops history.
And it isn’t finished yet.
“Since we were little, myself and Trey have stayed in a camper and watched the state championships, just dreaming of what it would be like to play in, let alone win a state championship,” Braylon said. “That opportunity is in front of us. We have to go grab it.”
While the excitement of that opportunity is certainly felt, it’s also bittersweet.
This weekend marks the final weekend of basketball season, and the last time all three Robertsons will share the court together. They’ll start it by meeting with Gilmour Academy at 8:30 p.m., Friday in Dayton.
“To see this season turn out the way it has, it’s been extremely rewarding,” Travis said. “There’s not a group who deserves this more, and it’s exciting as a coach and a dad to see all of this happen from where we started to where we’re at right now. I love my boys and I’m so proud of them for what they’ve been able to do this season.
“But it’s not over, we still have a couple more games left.”