TERRE HAUTE —
The most encouraging boys high school basketball event I’ve attended so far in 2011 has been the Lafayette Semistate a couple of weeks ago.
The fact that Rockville looks like it could return there once or twice in the next couple of years is one reason, but not the only one. The Class 4A game that followed, in which Kokomo knocked off top-ranked Munster with a late 3-pointer, was the main reason.
Rockville and Triton brought substantial crowds — who were probably encouraged to leave the gym as soon as possible afterward. The Munster and Kokomo fans provided a standing-room-only crowd for the second game, easily the loudest I’ve seen in many years. In the two games combined, I’m guessing nearly 8,000 fans were in the 6,200-seat Lafayette Jeff gym at one time or another. Which is a good way to introduce the Amey Teams for the 2010-2011 boys season.
Captains of the Clutch Team are a pair of big guys who are getting used to drawing an awful lot of defensive attention — and who are able to do several things to counteract that attention. They are, of course, Justin Gant of Terre Haute North and Rhett Smith of Sullivan.
Their teammates are Logan Cannady of Marshall; Cory Cunningham and Dalton Temples of Paris; Ben Denker and Jake Tiefel of Clay City; Brock Dowell of Shakamak; Jared Gilstrap and Jansen Hight of Owen Valley; Mason Gregory of Sullivan; Austin Karazsia and Caleb Stuppy of Linton; Garrett Lientz of Riverton Parke; Anthony McGill of Terre Haute South; Caleb Mershon of Northview; Jake Newton of North; Ryan O’Neall of Bloomfield; Aaron Siler of Robinson; Tyler Talpas of Union; Jake Weaver of Turkey Run; Scott West of West Vigo; and Brandon Wolfe of Casey.
There were plenty of potential captains for the Competitors Team, and it was tough to trim it to these three players: Jacob Duncan of Marshall, Jeremy Helton of Riverton Parke and Trent Lancaster of Northview.
Other favorites of mine are David Bedwell and James Lisman of Sullivan; Ethan Blankenship, Jeremy Nichols, Hunter Scales and Clinton Scott of Casey; Jared Boyll, Cole Rice and Taylor Sanders of Marshall; Cole Bradbury and Blake Eaton of Linton; Ryder Brannon and Zach Danks of Robinson; Tyler Bridgewater of Clay City; Gage Camden and Ethan Fettig of Union; Brad Chambers, Phillip Harpenau and Dylan Reyher of South Vermillion; Lane Clark and Scott Leigh of North Vermillion; Kyle Doane and Drake Vandeventer of Bloomfield; Joe Hackney, Zach Mulkins, Brandon Roberts and Dakotah Scott of Martinsville; Jordan Houser, Cade Lindsey and Kyle Stewart of West Vigo; Cody Jeffries and Clint White of Rockville; Ethan Mason of Paris; Calib McCombs and Riley Sunderman of Turkey Run; Logan Shipley of North; Derek Shouse, Jermaine Smith and Lucas Steward of South; Connor Strain and Tyler Strain of North Central; and Tyler Yando of Riverton Parke.
Captains of my Unsung Team are a couple of guys who might not catch your eye if you watch them once. The more you see of Ryan Crowther of West Vigo and Hunter Robertson of Northview, however, the more you see them getting done.
Others like them are Jeb Batchelor and Kyle Schubla of Shakamak; Walker Berner, Cray Bloodworth, Jordan Grooms and Andre Strohm of Marshall; Tyler Bradburn, Jordon McFall and Gary Ulrich of Rockville; Ben Brown and Clayton French of Linton; Colin Carver and Preston Rieck of Casey; Josh Cary and Josh Griffin of Paris; Blake Cesinger, Nick Jaeger and Tyler Seibert of South; Josh Decker and Colten Harbour of Clay City; Lance Ellett and Kaleb Pirtle of Sullivan; Derek Engle, Aaron Hill, Gary Secuskie and Cody Vauters of Riverton Parke; Seth Gambill and Jacob Todd of Union; Tyler Goddard, Jacob Hayn and Jeff Woods of Turkey Run; Dylan Haltom and Dion Scott of South Vermillion; Shane Herrell, Warren Whithaus and Eli Wright of Robinson; Ethan Hoadley, David Ray, Evan Rice, Zach Savage and Andrew Ward of Owen Valley; Zach Hull and Chance Talbot of Northview; Chase Jones, Matt O’Leary and Ross Sponsler of North; Payton Karl, Bryce Lindsay and Jake Phegley of Bloomfield; Tod Lebeda and Seth Vanschoyck of North Central; Dalton McCool and Kody Zumwalt of North Vermillion; and Kyle Perisho and Blaine Washburn of Martinsville.
Captains of the Unselfish Team gave up spots in the starting lineup for the good of the team — Caleb Turner of Sullivan and Joel Wittenmyer of Rockville.
Other team-first guys are Kalen Alexander of North; Ben Allen of Owen Valley; Jordan Ball, Clay Bess, Brandon Garcia and Zach Hough of Paris; Brady Brown of Robinson; Cody Cox of North Central; Kyle Daugherty and Kyle Yeargin of Riverton Parke; Brandon Flater of Linton; Austin Hines of South Vermillion; Landry Huisinga and Matt McCown of Casey; Damon Hyatt, Dalton Rohr and Jordan VanHorn of Northview; Sterling Langley and Drew Schreve of Union; Eric Lear and Kyle Wheeler of Rockville; and Aaron Toner of Martinsville.
Three sophomores lead the Most Improved Team and are already arriving at stardom — Dess Fougerousse of Linton, Lane Mahurin of Rockville and Jeffrey Turner of South.
Others who got better are Tyler Allen, Brylan Jones and Justin Rodgers of Clay City; Jeff Babbs and Drew Bolin of Casey; Aaron Bellgraph of North Central; Bryce Bement and Gavan Marx of Sullivan; Zach Birdsong of Union; Cory Blount of Robinson; Tommie Bolden of North; Adrien Corenflos of West Vigo; Justin Crody, Brodie Crowe and Patrick Green of Shakamak; Andrew Davidson, Nathan Kash and Thomas Sisson of Marshall; Bryce Doran of Martinsville; Cory Edge and Wade Stites of Riverton Parke; Austin England and Monte Stevenson of South; Jacob Harrison of North Vermillion; Curtis Hasler of Bloomfield; Robert Hodgson of Paris; Schuyler Jeffers and Dallas Thomas of Turkey Run; Luke Jerrells and Koye Kaiser of Linton; Scotty Johansen and Josh Vaughan of South Vermillion; Zac Kempf of Rockville; Jacob Ninesling, Bryant Pestoff and Dillon Reynolds of Northview; and Kaleb Oldham and Dalton Vest of Owen Valley.
Among all players on the Most Promising Team, the brightest future could belong to Calvin Blank of North.
Others to look forward to are Jake Amstutz of Turkey Run; Braden Cox, Brandon Morin and Brett Yeryar of Shakamak; Max Gregory, Michael Hutchcraft, Jacob Kinnaman and Brooks Weszely of Sullivan; Ben Hays of Bloomfield; Kaden Lawson of South Vermillion; Zach Lyon of West Vigo; Taylor Maurer of Marshall; Zach Murphy and Trivette Scales of Casey; Derrick Nicholas of Robinson; Grant Stamm and Ryan Woodward of Linton; Aaron Stone and Chase Vanschoyck of North Central; and Brayden Woodard of North Vermillion.
Guys I love to watch in a number of sports lead my Left-handed Team this year — Clay Bess of Paris and Tyler Yando of Riverton Parke.
Their teammates are Walker Berner of Marshall; Ben Brown of Linton; Zach Danks of Robinson; Bryce Doran of Martinsville; Brock Dowell of Shakamak; Joe Fidler of Cloverdale; Kevaris Gregory of South; Dylan Haltom of South Vermillion; Ethan Hoadley and Zach Savage of Owen Valley; Payton Karl of Bloomfield; Taylor Kilgore, Rylan Smith and Jordan West of North Vermillion; Jeremy Nichols of Casey; Kole Smith of Clay City; and Caleb Turner of Sullivan.
• Local connection — Matthew Daniel, son of West Vigo graduate Don Daniel and former Indiana State point guard Mindy Boggs, earned NAIA honorable-mention honors after his junior season at the University of the Cumberlands.
Matthew, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard, averaged 14 points per game and shot 40 percent from 3-point range.
He probably got his height from Don, who was also his high school coach. But Don says Mindy’s genes put him over the top.
• No surprises — Gatorade’s Indiana Players of the Year for basketball are Bria goss of Ben Davis and Cody Zeller of Washington, hardly ground-breaking news.
My Mr. Basketball vote, however, went to Dee Davis of Bloomington South.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.