By Andrew Johnson

HOLTON – As a senior standout for the Holton Red Devils, Kevin Slowik is closing in on some pretty impressive individual records.

He’s a free-throw specialist who has a sparkling 77.8 percentage at the line this season. He’s hoping to increase his accuracy even more and break the single-season school record of 81 percent, held by Holton graduate Zach Axline.

Holton hoops standout Kevin Slowik

He also has the chance to break the single-season total free throw record. He has made 70 shots so far this season, while the school record, held by Paul Koviak, is 98.

“I want to break the records, but I try not to think about it too much because I might put too much pressure on myself,” Slowik said.

While those individual goals are important to Slowik, his team goals are bigger. He very much wants to end his varsity career on a winning team, something that has eluded him over three seasons.

As a sophomore, he contributed off the bench and showed a lot of promise, but the Red Devils finished 6-14.

As a junior Slowik hit his pace, averaging 16 points and nine rebounds and earning honorable mention All-Conference honors. But the Red Devils finished with a disappointing 4-17 record.

This year Slowik is averaging 17.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and the Holton team has improved.

The Red Devils sit at 7-7 overall and have their first chance in several years to finish with a winning record, and perhaps compete for a postseason district championship.

Slowik tries to block a shot by Hesperia’s Scott Peters last season. Photo/Leo Valdez

“I really want our team to have a winning record,” said Slowik, who is officially listed as a 6-3 guard, but plays all over the place. “If we can have a winning record and win a district title, which hasn’t been done since 2007, it’d be a great way to go out.”

Slowik knows his leadership will be just as important as his scoring and rebounding as the season winds down and Holton fights for wins.

“I’m one of the captains this year and it means a lot,” he said. “My guys on the court trust me and I trust them. They hold me accountable and I hold them accountable as well.”

Holton coach Mike Fosburg said it’s a huge help when your go-to guy is focused on team goals.

“He’s a prime example of a best player who works hard,” Fosburg said. “He shows up every day with his best effort, regardless of whatever is going on. He rises above whatever he has to with a great attitude.

“He’s without a doubt our leader. When things aren’t going well on the court, sometimes guys may even look too much to Kevin. But our guys definitely look to him and feed off of him.”

Slowik is having his best season on the court because he was determined to do so. He spent the offseason pushing himself, particularly in AAU basketball last summer, so his senior year would be one to remember.

“I played at least four times a week,’ Slowik said about his summer. “I always shot hoops whenever I could. I did team camps and team practices. Sometimes I’d even practice twice a day, once with my team and once with my AAU team.

“It’s helped me a lot because the more you practice, the better you get.”

Slowik was not the only Red Devil to push himself hard in the offseason. Fosburg said several others – including seniors Kyle Wildfong (11 points per game) and Jacob Tanner (eight points and four assists per game) and junior Dalton Giddings – also made the type of commitment that was necessary for the team to improve this season.

“That allowed us to focus on building not only our skill set, but our basketball knowledge as well,” Fosburg said. “Kevin was a huge contributor in this, because he’s fun to work out with and will push you, and you knew he was always going to be there (working out).”

While the Red Devils’ season is still in full swing, Slowik is aware that graduation and college are just around the corner. He’s got his eye on several schools, but isn’t sure if he will continue his athletic career.

Wherever he goes, he will leave behind his younger brother Nathan Slowik, a freshman who was recently called up to the Holton varsity. He said he’s trying to leave behind a positive legacy for his brother and future players.

“My goal is to set an example,” Slowik said. “I’m trying to teach him as much as I can before I leave for college.”