Over the weekend the Brownwood PIPs, standing for Players in Progress, attended the Annual PIP Festival held at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls.

PIPs is a national youth organization that not only teaches basketball handling skills, but helps build self-confidence and discipline. Some of the main goals of the program are to encourage an early interest in basketball and sports, improve agility, physical skills and general fitness, and to build character. Throughout the season they are taught a series of ball handling skills, and advance to skills and tricks that are more challenging as they grow and develop. They are also taught that “Practice Makes Permanent” not perfect because no one is perfect and we will still make mistakes.

At the PIP Festival, PIPs from all over the country have the opportunity to come together and compete in a fun, friendly atmosphere in a variety of group and individual competitions. Each PIP is allowed to compete in up to four events that are either individual events or can be paired into a trio/duo performances. In addition to their own four events, the PIPS are allowed to compete in a large Group Performance with at least five members their own PIP Group.

This year the Brownwood PIPs were the second largest group in attendance with 16. The Group’s Mini Group Performance, consisting of nine attendees, achieved second place overall. Also, the group brought a Trio Group Performance (consisting of Ashlyn Bundick, Jessie Griffin, and Micayla Cardoza) that placed second overall, and a Duo Group Performance (consisting of sisters Joyslynn and Macy Mask) that placed fourth overall. In addition, other individual achievements included Mia Lopez (two-year Pip) achieved three second places; Dallas Lopez (one-year pip) achieved a first-place, second-place, third-place and fourth-place award; Jayton Byler (second-year Pip) achieved two first-place and two second-place awards; Andrew Fagan (one-year Pip) achieved two second-place awards; Macy Mask (one-year Pip) achieved a third-place award; Joyslynn Mask (one-year Pip) achieved a fourth-place award; Allyannah Hernandez (four-year Pip) achieved two second-place awards and a sixth-place award; Micayla Cardoza (five-year Pip) achieved a first-place, fourth-place, and sixth-place award; Ashlyn Bundick (second year Pip) achieved a first-place, fourth-place, and sixth-place award; Mina Foster (four-year Pip) achieved three second-place awards, Jessi Griffin (six-year PIP) achieved a third-place and two fifth-place awards; and Tristyn Garcia (six-year Pip) achieved a second-place, two fourth-places, and a sixth-place award.

Also in attendance at the PIP Festival were the group’s four “Old Timers,” Mallory Garcia (volunteer and 12-year Pip), Jaslyn Gutierrez (volunteer and 10-year Pip), Emely Mendoza (volunteer and six-year Pip), and Christa Mendoza (volunteer and six-year Pip), five coaches Mattie Byler, Becky Garcia, Cecilia Cardoza, LaShawn Griffin, and Amanda Bundick, and countless supportive parents, family members, and fans.

Even though winning isn’t everything, we were very pleased by how well our group competed on a national level at PIP Festival. All of the PIPS practiced very hard, gave their best performances, and had a lot of fun meeting and connecting with PIPS from across the country.

PIPs season runs October through March, and has weekly organized group practices. The PIPs hard work and practice are showcased not only at the Annual Pip Festival, but also in front of crowds at halftimes of basketball games and other local events. This year the Brownwood Pips performed at Brownwood High School, Bangs High School, Tarleton State University, and Howard Payne University. Also two of our group members (Jessi Griffin and Micayla Cardoza) were picked to be a part of an All-Star Pip Performance Team where they were combined forces with other PIPS from across the state to create some amazing performances. The specialty performance group they joined performed at Texas Tech University, and will soon perform at an upcoming San Antonio Spurs game on April 1.

Brownwood PIPS will also hold a Fundraiser Spirit Night Tuesday at Chick-fil-A to help raise money for the group’s upcoming PIP season. For more information about PIPs or to make a donation to the program, contact Mattie Byler at 817-706-3977.