We’ve already talked about what a wonderful season of high school basketball we were blessed with recently, so while the Amey family is packing its bags for spring break — look for a recap of central Missouri in a couple of weeks — you can enjoy the Amey Awards.
One captain of the Clutch Team had already been selected by the end of December, for the many different things he accomplished and for the fact that he’d do all of them at the most crucial moments of the game. That Mike Conley-like performance was turned in by Jordan Pearson of West Vigo, whose co-captain — to no one’s surprise — is Jake Odum of Terre Haute South.
But as good a way as any to evaluate the recent season is to look at this list of clutch performers who weren’t captains: Donnie Abrams and Bobby Swaby of North Central; Austin Akers of Northview; Chase Brinkley of Paris; Colin Brown and Jake Weaver of Turkey Run; Tyler Collier and Randy Lientz of Owen Valley; Jacob Duncan and Lucas Eitel of Marshall; Jordan Hickam and Wade Huber of Greencastle; B.J. Howard of Union; Ben Jones and Meyers Leonard of Robinson; Zach Jumps and Jacob Rankin of North Vermillion; Will Kennedy and Kyler Rhodes of Clay City; R.J. Mahurin of Rockville; Billy Newton of Shakamak; and Josh Wilson of Riverton Parke. Those are some pretty good players.
He wasn’t the best player on his team, but he was the indispensable one. West Vigo can’t win 19 games unless somebody like Jeremy Lucas plays big around the basket, which is why he and another undersized but never outhustled inside player, Jarrid McLaughlin of Riverton Parke, are captains of the Competitors Team.
Other battlers were Thomas Anderson and Daniel Gabbard of Terre Haute North; Chris Babcock of Bloomfield; Justin Bartrum and Tyler Lewis of Greencastle; Jordan Borders, Jordan Langford, Ethan Stanifer and Jarred VanHorn of Shakamak; A.J. Boyll and Dylan Walker of North Central; Seth Brewer, Riley Scales, Kirk Shawver, Mitch Snyder and Chris Unzicker of Casey; Ryan Buchhaas, Jacob Harrison and Kody Lenhart of North Vermillion; Logan Chesterfield and Dustin Howard of Union; Keith Cunningham, Jordan Tharp and Jake Tibbett of Linton; Jordan Defore and Levi Seymour of Clay City; Taylor Duncan, Logan Eitel and Dalton Sanders of Marshall; Derek Hannahs of Robinson; Logan Henness and Avery Mason of Paris; Jeremy Hudson, Cody Meyer and Jake Montgomery of Tri-County; John Michael Jarvis and Chris Rose of South; Josh Karr of Turkey Run; Matt King and David Parsons of Rockville; Trent Lancaster and Hunter Robertson of Northview; Dustin Lawson and Kyle Yeargin of Riverton Parke; Cody Mumaw, Dylan Reyher and Andy Walsh of South Vermillion; Zach Roth of Owen Valley; Thad Thompson of Sullivan; and Tyler Wampler of West Vigo.
You wouldn’t think it would be easy — by definition — to pick a captain of the Unsung Team, but Rockville’s Josh Reed set the perfect example for role-players everywhere.
Others like him included Kaleb Barnhart, Kruz Kusterman and Clinton Scott of Casey; Billy Bettis, Tyler Bradburn and Aaron Bridge of Rockville; Tyler Bishop, Trey Brashear, Dustin Morey, Jake Tucker and Austin Wetnight of Marshall; Blane Boyd, Jacob Phegley, Tanner Reynolds and Michael Talpas of Union; Dreyson Boyd, Dalton Hiatt, Austin Nash and Jordan Turner of Sullivan; Ethan Clark and Scott Leigh of North Vermillion; Austin Cook and Jathan Davies of Turkey Run; Ryan Crowther and Brodey McCalister of West Vigo; Derrik Enstrom and Storm Lindsay of North Central; Andrew Gauer and Jordan Mauk of North; Ross Gentry, Chase Rhoten and Stefan Sparks of Linton; Dayton Gobert, Sean Hollows and Cody Vest of Owen Valley; Jarret Hastings of South Vermillion; Orry Heffner and Logan Higgins of Clay City; Graham Helms, Ricky Tally and Gavin Thompson of Bloomfield; Jeremy Helton of Riverton Parke; T.J. Hill of Shakamak; Jason Hollis of Paris; Stephen Jones, Brandon Shaw and Austin Siler of Robinson; Bobby McKenna and Ike Worrell of South; Patrick Miller and Curtis Washburn of Tri-County; Griffin Moore and Kyle Nobles of Greencastle; and Clint Reynolds of Northview.
Captains of the Unselfish Team are a pair of seniors who were team-first all the way, one of them — Jake Smith of Sullivan — for four years of varsity play. His co-captain is Zach Walls of Paris.
Other selfless players included Jacob Allen and Carter Morgan of North Vermillon; Jordan Allen, Jordan Keller and Brad Wilson of Northview; Jordan Arford and Mitch Hobson of Bloomfield; Adam Austin and Nate Housley of South; Ryan Cash and Logan Spung of Paris; Jordan Caylor of South Vermillion; Jared Clapp, Jimmy Clifton and Jacob Richardson of Tri-County; Phil Compton and Jarrod Wrightsman of Turkey Run; Ethan Delp of Marshall; J.D. Fish of Linton; Kyle Herbert, Brandt Warner and Woody Worland of Owen Valley; Keaton Langley and Jacob Wilkes of Union; Eric Lear of Rockville; Brett Livvix and Ryan Shull of Casey; Graham Shuee of Greencastle; Jacob Stevenson of Shakamak; Brett Taylor and Scott Weatherford of North; and Derek Watson of Robinson.
Most self-explanatory this season are the captains of the Most Improved Team, who merely stepped in as seniors with little varsity experience and played huge roles in teams that won 40 games — Ian McIntyre of South and Joel Modesitt of West Vigo.
Others who got better were David Bedwell of Sullivan; Jonathan Bradshaw, Jacob Musgrave and Trent Sims of Northview; Fred Brust of Union; Sean Burton, Lucas Mackey and Scott West of West Vigo; Lucas Clark of North Vermillion; Jordan Crowe, Tyler Richardson and John Smith of Shakamak; Spencer Davies, Seth Marshall and Jon Sowers of Turkey Run; John Dayton, Taylor Haddix and Zach Henn of Paris; Justin Gant, Zach Harrison, Chase Jones and Jerrel Thompson of North; Braxton Griffith and D.J. Newton of Clay City; Dylan Haltom, Patrick Harpenau and Logan Laswell of South Vermillion; Daniel Hardesty of Riverton Parke; Kyle Harlan and Ashton Marshall of Greencastle; Logan Hennecke, Corbin Rehmel and John Stefancik of North Central; Drew Kelley, Caleb McMullen and Sam Wake of Rockville; Evan Magni of Linton; Anthony McGill and Jacob Tanoos of South; Ian Mitchell and Eric Vaughn of Riverton Parke; Ross Rhoades of Tri-County; Kurt Schulte of Bloomfield; and Aaron White of Owen Valley.
I’d been looking forward to seeing this year’s captain of the Most Promising Team for a long time, and he was much better than I’d expected. That’s Rhett Smith of Sullivan, of course.
Others who could be great are Tommie Bolden, Jordan Marshall and Ross Sponsler of North; Logan Cannady and Jordan Grooms of Marshall; James Craigmyle and Kevin McMasters of South Vermillion; Trent Collins and Tyler Talpas of Union; Lance Elliott, James Lisman and Caleb Turner of Sullivan; Tyler Gilstrap of Owen Valley; Josh Griffin and Dalten Temples of Paris; Jacob Hayn of Turkey Run; Jordan Houser and Cody Thornton of West Vigo; Nick Hutcheson, Spencer Moore and Keegan Remsburg of Greencastle; Damon Hyatt, Caleb Mershon and Jordan VanHorn of Northview; Cody Jeffries and Clint White of Rockville; Gary Secuskie and Cody Vauters of Riverton Parke; Jermaine Smith and Lemuel Young of South; Caleb Stuppy of Linton; DeJohn Walden of Holy Cross; and Brandon Wilson of Tri-County.
And for captain of the Left-handed Team (remember, all of us can shoot) I’ll take the guy who hit one of the biggest shots in the big Marshall season, Taylor Duncan. He’ll team with Ryan Crowther and Cole Lydick of West Vigo; Zach Henn of Paris; Jordan Hickam of Greencastle; Jordan Keller of Northview; Seth Marshall and Jarrod Wrightsman of Turkey Run; Austin Nash and Caleb Turner of Sullivan; Cory Slaven of Bloomfield; Bobby Swaby of North Central; and Jarred VanHorn of Shakamak.
• Addition — Take the honorable-mention list from the all-Wabash Valley boys team that ran a week or so ago and add one more name to it. DeJohn Walden of Holy Cross finished as the state’s ninth-leading scorer at 24.8 points per game, had 5.6 rebounds a game, shot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range and was 78 percent at the foul line — as a freshman.
• Hate to mention this — Jordan Hulls of Bloomington South is the Gatorade Player of the Year (although Odum would’ve been my choice).
• Better news — Indiana State recruit Taylor Whitley of Geneva was fourth in the Illinois Miss Basketball balloting. The winner was a freshman, Morgan Tuck of Bolingbrook.
• Non-basketball item — In the first outdoor track meet of the 2009 season for Grand Valley State, Shakamak graduate Anthony Witt had a national-qualifying time of 30:44.51 in the 10,000-meter run.
• NFHS honorees — Soon to be inducted into the National Federation of High Schools Hall of Fame are legendary football coach Dick Dullaghan, most recently of Ben Davis, and four-time Illinois girls cross country champion Dana Miroballi. Other recognizable names are Bob Hurley, longtime basketball coach at St. Anthony in New Jersey, and former Houston Westchester pitcher David Clyde.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.