By Nick Nahas
Nick Lewis and Drew Bethoney have been a dynamic duo since they joined forces at Burns Middle School in the 6th grade. The two friends have been attached at the hip since then, leading Bloomingdale High School to its first district championship in 20 years last season. They now head into their senior seasons as co-captains of their team, with a chance to set a winning standard at Bloomingdale and establish a legacy for years to come.
The boys were competitors long before they stepped on the court at Bloomingdale. They went head-to-head as 7-year-olds in YMCA recreational leagues. Both players were so skilled at a young age, that they were able to play basketball with kids older than them. Because of their talent, the other players in the league did not want to play against them if they were on the same team; therefore they never played alongside each other until middle school.
The sharpshooters took their game to the next level, while doing it in style. Both players have been outstanding during their high school careers, breaking longstanding school records that many thought would never be broken.
Nick Lewis shattered Vic Rook’s record for most assists (295) in a career at Bloomingdale on January 10 against Tampa Bay Tech. “It means a lot. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve it without my teammates,” said Lewis. “Coach Willis is the master behind all of the plays that set up my teammates. If it wasn’t for him, then I would not have nearly as many assists as I do now.”
Drew has had similar success, crushing the school records for most 3-point field goals in a game with 10, most 3-point field goals in a season with 96, and he has recently eclipsed the career 3-point field goal record of 213, previously held by Callum Townsend (Univ. of Tampa), one of the best wings to ever play in Hillsborough county.
Drew is indisputably the best shooter that Bloomingdale has had in its 30-year history. On January 13 against Durant, he surpassed 1,000 career points; a feat that only a handful of players at Bloomingdale have accomplished. The last player to reach that mark was Drew’s brother, Ryan Bethoney (Bloomingdale, 2012). “It feels awesome. It’s a great memory that I will never forget,” said Drew. ”It feels great to have all these accomplishments in my life. These individual achievements are like team achievements as well.”
The Lewis and Bethoney family Bloomingdale basketball legacy began before Nick and Drew suited up for the Bulls. Ryan Bethoney (2012) and Spencer Lewis (2014) were both very good players in their own right, laying the foundation for their younger brothers. Ryan played four years of college basketball at Montreat College in North Carolina before rejoining the Bulls as an assistant coach this season. Both older brothers have made a huge impact on their younger brother’s lives. “Drew likes to joke around a lot, but at the same time he knows when to stop and take things seriously,” said Ryan. “As his big brother, I’d like to think that I’ve played a pretty big role in his life. He grew up watching me play ball and saw how I acted both on and off the court. I would like to think that I was somewhat of a role model for him.”
Nick and his older brother, Spencer, being only a couple of years apart, are very close. Spencer helped fuel Nick’s competitive fire. “Ever since Nick was a little kid, he always had that competitiveness and self motivation to be the best at whatever he was doing,” said Spencer. “Whether it was school or sports, he always wanted to be great.”
The young protégés both have the opportunity to play basketball at the next level in college. The pair has received Division III offers and might also gain some Division II offers after the season. As for now, they want to finish their high school careers on a good note. “Nick and Drew will leave a legacy of success and hard work,” said Joe Willis, head coach of the Bloomingdale basketball team. “Their commitment to Bloomingdale and their teammates has been unmatched in the eight years I have been at Bloomingdale.”