TERRE HAUTE —
I believe you’ve heard me say before — just about a year ago, perhaps — that a boys high school basketball season that ends with the Tribune-Star in Bankers Life Fieldhouse can’t be considered a bad one, which is why we have a little celebrating to do thanks to the Linton Miners.
Lover of irony that I am, I’ve also got to point out that this season was another branch sprouting from the Wabash Valley’s most legendary coaching tree, that of Joe Hart.
Joe never got much credit for his work at Dugger, but he took Brody Boyd, Clark Golish and the Bulldogs to a state championship game in 2000, and since then three of his former players — Joe Pigg, Clint Swan and now Joey Hart, his son — also have coached teams in the final game of the season.
Joe probably wishes he could take credit for Doc Nash, another down-home type who gave a banjo lesson earlier Saturday in leading Borden past a bigger, more athletic Triton team (banjo lesson is a Howard Sharpism, for you younger readers), but his lineage is still the best I can think of around here.
As we delve into the Amey Teams for the 2012-13 season, I notice that there’s one big similarity between this group of boys teams and the girls teams that appeared a little over a month ago: a lot of great seniors who have played their last high school games. Without further adieu …
Five of those aforementioned seniors earned captaincy on the Clutch Team: Blake Cesinger, Clay City’s do-it-all star; Austin Karazsia of Linton, the high scorer of the state finals in all four classes, I think; Lane Mahurin of Rockville, who came very close to leading the Rox to two straight Class A championship games; Aaron Siler of Robinson, the biggest story of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic; and Jeffrey Turner of Terre Haute South, master of the fourth quarter.
Others who led when leading was needed included Adrien Corenflos and Cade Lindsey of West Vigo; Sam Dyar of Linton; Patrick Green of Shakamak; Matt Haltom of Riverton Parke; Ben Hays of Bloomfield; Cade Hill of White River Valley; Zach Mulkins of Martinsville; Craig Peters and Ethan Whitson of Northview; Nathan Pirtle and Brooks Weszely of Sullivan; Evans Rogers of Clay City; Trivette Scales and Brandon Wolfe of Casey; Thomas Sisson of Marshall; Logan Steward of South; and Brayden Woodard of North Vermillion.
Competitors? We’ve got plenty, led by the Wabash Valley’s most ferocious big man, Calvin Blank of Terre Haute North, and its most fearless little guy, Kyle Stewart of West Vigo.
Other hard noses could be found on players like Cray Bloodworth and Drew Morris of Marshall; Jordan Brandenburg and Zach Murphy of Casey; Jordan Branz, Adam Crouch and Logan Waldrop of South Vermillion; Beau Eaton of Linton; Tyler Elliott of Martinsville; Ethan Fettig of Union; Nate Jahn of North; Austin Jewell and Tod Lebeda of North Central; Daniel Kimball of Northview; Jordon McFall, Gary Ulrich and Keiontre Wilkey of Rockville; Derrick Nicholas and Brayden Scott of Robinson; Kole Sanders of Riverton Parke; Riley Sunderman and Jeff Woods of Turkey Run; Preston Tofaute of South; and Kody Zumwalt of North Vermillion.
One of the captains of the Unsung Team earned his role in about a quarter of guarding South’s Turner, that being Cory Blount of Robinson. The other is a guy who got a lot of dimes (assists) for a team that didn’t always score that regularly, Kade Lawson of South Vermillion.
Others who deserved more plaudits than they got include Jake Amstutz of Turkey Run; Trey Bedwell, Zac Birdsong, Ian Hamburg and Sterling Langley of Union; Walker Berner of Marshall; Jackson Bohnert, Zac Riddell and Bryant Jackson of Linton; Christian Burris, Dylan Collins, Kyle Schubla and Mark West of Shakamak; Cole Chipman, Landon Hoagland and Jason Richart of Robinson; Devin Clark, Travis Hakman and Jim Mace of Northview; Grant Daley and Alex West of West Vigo; Steven Davis, A.J. Grady and Casey Vickers of North; Conner Dowden, Evan Fuller and Jared Myers of Bloomfield; Loren Drake and Mitchell Peterson of North Central; Trey Gamble and Mitch Ingram of White River Valley; Max Gregory, Luke McPhail and Michael Willis of Sullivan; Braeden Hollowell and Devon Sams of North Vermillion; Sam Huisinga and A.J. McNeil of Casey; Chris Lee and Eli Stephens of Martinsville; Nathan Luft and Tristan Spivey of South Vermillion; Luther Mathas and Adam Wilson of Riverton Parke; and Josh Miller, Paiden Myers, Steven Phillips and Kurtis Yocum of Clay City.
Captains of the Most Improved Team are a trio who emerged as stars in various ways: Brodie Crowe of Shakamak, maybe the Valley’s best unknown scorer; Dess Fougerousse of Linton, who harnessed his always-apparent talent to help carry his team to the final week of the season; and Austin Lewis of North, a defensive specialist whose offensive value to his team became apparent in the couple of games when he was injured.
Others who got better in various ways were Michael Akande of Robinson; Brendon Bovair and Daniel Organ of Riverton Parke; John Brown, Cole Griffin and Nick Waltz of Rockville; Clayton Burch of Bloomfield; Charles Dillahunt, Patrick Hart and Chris Schenck of North; Christian Ellis and Peter Tanoos of Northview; Michael Fisher and Luke Mowery of White River Valley; Keith Fulk of Linton; Kevaris Gregory, Timmy Herrin and Shane Stanley of South; Tyler Hayes, Aaron Kirby and Lance Stonebarger of West Vigo; Aaron Hines and Cole Morgan of South Vermillion; Reece Hunt and Austin Jones of Turkey Run; Hunter King, Jake Kinnaman and Ian Perkinson of Sullivan; Taylor Maurer of Marshall; Matt McCown of Casey; Brandon Morin of Shakamak; Andrew Nikirk of North Central; Kyle Robinson of Bloomfield; Trevor Singer of Clay City; and Jacob Vincent of Martinsville.
A lot of players showed enough to be named to the Most Promising Team, but for my money the brightest future might belong to Gavin Stanifer of North Central.
Others to take up the slack for all the great seniors include Charlie Aimone of North; Dewey Ashley, Jacob Budd, Tyler Davis and Andrew and Jake Ferguson of Turkey Run; Joe Ball of Northview; Jeff Bessling of Shakamak; Easton Booe, Logan Cesinger and Noah Denker of Clay City; Braiden Cardinal, Hayden Corenflos and Tyler Wilson of West Vigo; Cory Davis, Jacob Earl, Will Martin and Kody Wright of North Vermillion; Joe Dieball and Zach Johnson of Linton; Tanner Edge, Hunter Falls and Johnny Myers of Riverton Parke; Neal Greene of North Central; Michael Hutchcraft of Sullivan; Chazz Lindsey and Keegan Steele of Marshall; Tre Minnett, Greg Newton, Conner Shipley and Spence Tofaute of South; Kyle Paddock, Isaiah Thurman and Raydon Wilkey of Rockville; Austin Robertson of Union; Dru Strayer of South Vermillion; and Brandon Van Sant of Bloomfield.
In the same vein, there were many unselfish players around the Valley, but one stood out as captain of the Unselfish Team: Kaleb Wilkinson of West Vigo.
Other team-first guys are Justin Barnett, Jorden English and Nick Johnson of White River Valley; Ross Brown and Craig Eldridge of Rockville; Braden Cox of Shakamak; Dana Gilbert of Martinsville; Jesse Helms and Taylor Skinner of Bloomfield; Cody Kocher, Cole Riggleman and Ryan Woodward of Linton; Evan Low of North; Shawn McCown of Casey; Jake Pirtle of Sullivan; Cole Rice of Marshall; Jarred Russell of Turkey Run; Nick Stucker of North Central; Austin Weck of Robinson; and Jared Wolfe of South.
Several of the players already mentioned are lefties, with my captain of that team being my favorite one — Kevaris Gregory. His teammates include three of his South teammates, Herrin, Steward and Wolfe; Berner, Huisinga and Sunderman; plus Parker Ames and Hunter Wolfe of Clay City and Andrew Weisheit of Rockville.
Steward and Dyar lead my unfortunate injury squad, although I’m sure Sam would agree that Logan’s timing was a little better.
• Couldn’t wait — Sorry I couldn’t stay longer at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday because Wabash Valley Officials Association referees Mark Hopper and P.J. Pitts — who have worked together once or twice in the past — were two-thirds of the crew for the Class 4A championship between Carmel and Indianapolis Cathedral.
It was P.J.’s second straight appearance in a 4A title game. He was one of the officials in Hulman Center in 2012 when Indianapolis North Central played Columbus North for the girls championship.
• Great choice — Might as well start getting ready to pencil South Alabama into your 2014 NCAA men’s tournament brackets after the Jaguars hired Matthew Graves as their new head coach Monday.
The former White River Valley star would probably be the captain of the All-Interview Team encompassing the last 40 years. Not sure he’s the smartest player I’ve ever known, but he’s prominent in the discussion.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at 812-231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by email at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at 812-231-4321. Follow TribStarAndy on Twitter.