BCR team can light it up

Published: Friday, March 15, 2013 3:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 4:52 p.m. CDT

Imagine the offense a basketball coach could gather with the 2012-13 All-BCR starting five.

Between them, the First Team players would put up 83.2 points a night with no one averaging less than 14.

Defense may still win championships, but the defense could rest this night with this All-BCR bunch. These guys can light it up, as they say.

First team

Brett Fanning, Hall (5-10 SR/G): Of all the scorers in the area, no one stood close to Hall’s senior standout. He averaged 21.3 ppg, finishing as the No. 2 all-time scoring leader at Hall High School behind only former All-Stater Shawn Jeppson. An all-around talent, the 5-10 guard led the Red Devils in rebounding (5.4 rpg), steals (1.7 spg), three-point shots (51) and free throw percentage (.817).

“Brett did it every night with the entire defense of every team knowing he was our only scoring option,” Hall coach Mike Filippini said.

Brad Groleau, St. Bede (5-10, SR/G-F): Mr. Outside for the Bruins could light it up from behind the arc, knocking down 60 threes during the season. The southpaw shooter averaged 14.2 points per game. He was an IBCA Special Mention pick and was chosen to play in the Illinois Valley All-Star game.  

“People forget that Brad came back from a torn ACL and in reality played this season as only his second year on the varsity. What and how good would he have been with another 30 games under his belt?” SBA coach Mike Kilmartin said. “Brad was also one of the captains, and with his leadership and positive attitude, he will be very difficult to replace.”

Brandon Morris, LaMoille (6-2, SR/F): There’s no Lion — the 6-2 junior forward from LaMoille is one of the best kept secrets in north central Illinois. However, the Little Ten knows all about the talents of their all-conference selection. Morris’ 10.6 rebounds was tops in the BCR Leaderboard, and his scoring average (16.7) was second only to Hall’s Fanning. He also averaged 2.0 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. Morris has the promise to finish next year as both a 1,000-point scorer and possibly more than 700 rebounds.

“He was our floor leader, and our kids were better because of him, and he was better when they played the way they were capable of. I am looking for even better things next year,” Lions coach Brent Kalsto said.

Parker Neuhalfen, Bureau Valley (6-2 SO/G): The best part about the Storm’s guard is that he has two years left to play. The sophomore standout has quickly made a name for himself around the Three Rivers Conference and northern Illinois, garnering all-conference and IBCA honors. The fourth-leading scorer in the area (15.4 ppg), the 6-2 guard also led the Storm in steals (1.4) while averaging 1.4 steals and 3.6 rebounds and shooting 45 percent from the field, 36 percent on threes.

“He showed a ton of maturity in his game. He became our primary ball handler and teams focused on him having had success last year,” BV coach Jason Marquis said. “He’s not looking at his staff every night. It’s what the team did was important. He gained respect around our building and our team.”

Joe Pyszka, St. Bede (6-7, SR/C): The 6-7, 265-pound big man was the unmovable object, and yet quite agile for his size. He averaged 15.6 points and nearly 10 rebounds and two blocks a game for the Bruins. He was a three-year starter and tri-captain for the Bruins, receiving Special Mention IBCA honors and was named to the Illinois Valley All-Star game.

“You don’t replace a center with that size and mobility,” Kilmartin said. “Joe was a great teammate and didn’t monopolize the ball. He was well aware of double teams and was very unselfish. Although he has chosen to play football at Western, his physicality would have been well suited to the college game as opposed to frequently being in foul trouble or always worrying about being in foul trouble.”

Second team

Cole Evenson, Princeton (6-4 SR/F): If there was one thing to describe Cole Evenson’s game, it would be consistency. He didn’t have sexy stats, but he was consistent. You could always count the 6-4 senior forward to score about 9.4 points (a team high) and pull down about 5.4 rebounds a night. A nice touch for a big man, Evenson shot 72 percent from the free-throw line and nearly 50 percent from the field.

“Cole was our most consistent player all year,” PHS coach Jesse Brandt said.

Tommy Johnston, Bureau Valley (6-3 SO/F): Another sophomore, who’s going to be around another two years in the Storm lineup. The 6-3 athletic forward provides some muscle inside (5.4 rpg) and scoring punch (12.4 ppg) with some finesse, shown by his area-best .519 shooting percentage.

“It was his first year playing varsity, and he was starting to find match-ups where teams can play with him physically, that was a new experience for him and he adjusted well,” Marquis said. “He played with a consistency.”

Brian Lange, Bureau Valley (6-3 F): The 6-3 senior forward played “extra large” for the Storm with an all-around game, averaging 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. He also showed an equally good touch from the floor (45 percent) and free-throw line (70 percent).

“He’s got to be about the most coachable player I’ve ever been around. He never complains and always works hard,” Marquis said. “He’s a great leader and leads by example.”

Jose Raya, DePue (6-1 C): Just 6-1, the junior center came up big in the post for the Little Giants, averaging team highs in scoring (12.4 ppg), rebounding (9.0) and blocked shots (1.6 bpg). He also stepped behind the arc to knock down 10 threes while making 35 steals.

Damin Smith, St. Bede (6-1 G/F): Kilmartin says the 6-1 senior swingman was probably the Bruins’ best all-around player, a very good defender who could guard the opponents’ best player, no matter their position. Smith averaged 11.7 ppg and was a great rebounder for his size, Kilmartin said. He, too, was a tri-captain and MVP and earned IBCA Honorable Mention.

“Damin was very versatile and a very good passer. His unselfishness became a fault at times when he passed up shots.  He was the best in big games and wanted the ball at the end,” Kilmartin said.

Third team

Frank Gebeck, Bureau Valley (5-11 G): The senior point guard was an all-around contributor for the Storm, averaging 7.2 points per game while distributing 3.0 assists, called a pass-first kind of player, Marquis said. He saw his season and career end prematurely with a spill on a snowboard over Christmas break.

Julian Gonzalez, L/O (5-7 G): L/O coach Kalsto says his 5-7 junior guard is probably the fastest kid off the dribble around, and “if he works on his shot and continues to get stronger, he will be real tough.” He averaged 9.0 points and 2 steals a game for the Lions.

Josh Kieffer, Princeton (6-1 F): Kieffer was the Tigers’ defensive stopper and had some good offensive games as well, Brandt said. The Tiger tri-captain averaged 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds, ranked second in each category for PHS.

Sam Lucas, St. Bede (6-0 G/F): A strong complimentary player behind the Bruins’ Big 3, the senior swingman averaged 9.1 points per game while sinking 34 threes.

Austin Mack, Princeton (6-4 F): Brandt says his big man was an intimidator on the inside with his ability to block shots. He led the Tigers in rebounding (5.4 rig) while averaging 4.6 ppg. Another team leader as a tri-captain.

Honorable mention

Bureau Valley: Hunter Klemme, Jordan Monier.

DePue: Isaac Reyes, Austin Zimmer.

Hall: Erick Fuentes, Danny Nolasco.

L/O: Anthony Lovgren.

Princeton: Austen Stewart, Zach Stroud.

St. Bede: Grant Bosnich, Bobby Morrow.

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