If having the state finals in town makes it a successful girls high school basketball season, then certainly having a team to follow at the state finals makes it a very successful boys high school basketball season; better than that, I have to think, if games were 33 minutes long instead of only 32.
Yes, I know I’m in uncharted waters here, setting a record with two columns in two days, but there’s a good reason. The Ameys are getting ready to go on vacation (hold the applause, even though I keep hearing there are folks ready for another vacation column), and for a very special reason: Jenny and I haven’t met our first great-grandson yet, and he’s almost six months old.
Feel free to tell either one of us that we are far too young for such a thing at every possible opportunity, by the way.
Without further ado, the Amey boys teams:
Two of my captains of the Clutch Team have been mentioned together so often this season for all the qualities this team exemplifies that it would be a shame to split them up now. Matt O’Leary and Ross Sponsler of Terre Haute North were fantastic leaders all season, and Jordan Houser of West Vigo did the same for his team.
Their teammates are John Ashcraft and Cade Hill of White River Valley; Logan Cannady and Jacob Duncan of Marshall; Ben Denker of Clay City; Brock Dowell of Shakamak; Ben Hays and Ryan O’Neall of Bloomfield; Jansen Hight and Trent Whitton of Owen Valley; Nick Hutcheson and Hayden Stuckwisch of Greencastle; Austin Karazsia of Linton; Kade Lawson of South Vermillion; Lane Mahurin and Gary Ulrich of Rockville; Dalton McCool and Brayden Woodard of North Vermillion; Kaleb Pirtle, Rhett Smith and Brooks Weszely of Sullivan; Aaron Siler of Robinson; Tyler Strain of North Central; Tyler Talpas of Union; Jeffrey Turner of Terre Haute South; and Brandon Wolfe of Casey.
There were a lot of candidates for the Competitors Team this year, as usual, but I think I can limit it to one captain: Phillip Harpenau of South Vermillion.
Other battlers are Calvin Blank, Nate Jahn and Chris Schenck of North; Ethan Blankenship, Zach Murphy and Jeremy Nichols of Casey; Jared Boyll and Taylor Sanders of Marshall; Blake Cesinger and Brylan Jones of Clay City; Nate Christy and Nick Gilliam of Greencastle; Lane Clark and Kody Zumwalt of North Vermillion; Justin Crody and Brett Yeryar of Shakamak; Zach Danks and Derrick Nicholas of Robinson; Kyle Doane and Jared Myers of Bloomfield; Blake Eaton and Dess Fougerousse of Linton; Ethan Fettig and Seth Gambill of Union; Matt Haltom and Riley Stohler of Riverton Parke; Jeff Hogue and Luke Mowery of White River Valley; Damon Hyatt, Daniel Kimball and Chance Talbot of Northview; Cody Jeffries of Rockville; Jake Kinnaman and James Lisman of Sullivan; Tod Lebeda and Connor Strain of North Central; Holden Smith, Jermaine Smith, Lucas Steward and Peter Tanoos of South; Kyle Stewart and Cody Thornton of West Vigo; Riley Sunderman and Jeff Woods of Turkey Run; and Josh Vaughan and Logan Waldrop of South Vermillion.
The captains of the Unsung Team have gotten so much notoriety for what they do best — play defense — that they may not even be eligible for this team anymore. I’ll excuse it by saying only the real aficianados appreciate work like stoppers Austin Lewis of North and Joel Wittenmyer of Rockville do.
Even less heralded are their teammates: Ben Allen, Kaleb Oldham, Josh Parker and Dalton Vest of Owen Valley; Jeb Batchelor, Christian Burris and Kyle Schubla of Shakamak; Bryce Bement, Lance Ellett and Caleb Turner of Sullivan; Zac Birdsong, Sterling Langley and Ethan Secrest of Union; Cray Bloodworth and Taylor Maurer of Marshall; Cory Blount and Bryant Scott of Robinson; Jackson Bohnert, Ben Brown and Koye Kaiser of Linton; Ross Brown and Kyle Wheeler of Rockville; Robert Buka and Kyle Robinson of Bloomfield; Adrien Corenflos and Dustin Gilbert of West Vigo; Nate Coulter and Nathan Luft of South Vermillion; Steven Davis and Charles Dillahunt of North; Cory Edge, Gary Secuskie, Wade Stites, Cody Vauters and Adam Wilson of Riverton Parke; Austin England, Shane Stanley and Preston Tofaute of South; Tyler Goddard, Schuyler Jeffers and Dallas Thomas of Turkey Run; Travis Hakman and Jacob Ninesling of Northview; Brad Haussin and Trevor Huber of Greencastle; Matt McCown and A.J. McNeil of Casey; Jordan O’Haver of White River Valley; Aaron Stone, Seth Vanschoyck and Landon Worrell of North Central; Jake Tiefel of Clay City; and Dalton Weaver of North Vermillion.
My Unselfish Team captain has fascinated me for the last couple of years now. Some games he barely plays at all, depending on matchups, but against the right people he’s among the most important players on his team. That’s Bryant Pestoff of Northview.
Others who put their team ahead of themselves are Nathan Buell, Koby Rhodes and Kole Smith of Clay City; Matt Cory, Austin Jones and Justin Paddock of Turkey Run; Braden Cox, Drake Schlomer and Mark West of Shakamak; Brandon Flater and Ryan Woodward of Linton; Logan Gardner and Chad Keyt of Greencastle; Jared Gilstrap, David Parker and Evan Rice of Owen Valley; Shane Herrell and Warren Whithaus of Robinson; Aaron Hines of South Vermillion; Landry Huisinga, Pat McCown and K.J. Wade of Casey; Nick Johnson of White River Valley; Taylor Kilgore and Rylan Smith of North Vermillion; Ian Long and Monte Stevenson of South; Bryce McGlothlin of Bloomfield; Drew Shreve and Jacob Todd of Union; and Nate Wake and Matt Wheeler of Rockville.
A lot of players got better from last year to this year or from the beginning of the season to the end of it. But only one emerged as a key player on a state-finals team, so the Most Improved Team captain is Jordon McFall of Rockville.
Others who emerged were Tyler Allen of Clay City; Jake Amstutz of Turkey Run; Aaron Bellgraph and Lester Moore of North Central; Sean Benford, Danny Etling, Kevaris Gregory and Logan Steward of South; Walker Berner and Thomas Sisson of Marshall; Drew Bolin and Trivette Scales of Casey; Brendon Bovair and Aaron Hill of Riverton Parke; Dakota Brown of Union; Brodie Crowe and Patrick Green of Shakamak; A.J. Grady, Nathan Paul-Bonham and Casey Vickers of North; Nathan Gregg and Cade Lindsey of West Vigo; Curtis Hasler of Bloomfield; Gavan Marx of Sullivan; Michael Muncie and Jesse Tesmer of Greencastle; Craig Peters and Dillon Reynolds of Northview; Brayden Scott of Robinson; and Kam Weyrauch of South Vermillion.
Captain of the Most Promising Team got very little time to show it, but Ethan Whitson of Northview certainly looks like a player to watch in the future.
Others are Michael Akande of Robinson; Joe Ball of Northview; Jordan Branz, Cole Morgan, Kole Sanders and Tristan Spivey of South Vermillion; Dylan Collins and Brandon Morin of Shakamak; Sam Dyar and Bryant Jackson of Linton; Michael Fisher of White River Valley; Ian Hamburg of Union; Alex Harbison, Noah Nevins and Jarred Russell of Turkey Run; Patrick Hart and Evan Low of North; Nolan King and Ethan Sparks of Owen Valley; Jimmy Maples of West Vigo; Baylor Myers of Marshall; Damon Olds of South; and Isiah Thurman, Nick Waltz, Tre Wilkey and Trevor Woodard of Rockville.
Whitson, unfortunately, is also a member of a team of players who suffered injuries that cost them all or significant parts of the season. Among others on it are Cannady of Marshall; Mahurin, Wake and Clint White of Rockville; Preston Rieck of Casey; and Logan Steward of South.
But lefties, I haven’t forgotten you. Seniors Ben Brown of Linton and Kole Smith of Clay City are its captains because of their buzzer-beating junior varsity shots a couple of years ago — 50 feet for Kole, 75 for Ben. Their teammares are Berner and Myers of Marshall; Danks of Robinson; Gregory and Logan Steward of South; Sam Huisinga and Nichols of Casey; Kilgore, Smith and Jordan West of North Vermillion; Turner of Sullivan; and Whitton of Owen Valley.