LAKEVILLE, IN. – The LaVille High School basketball team closed the 2019-2020 season that included a 19-6 overall record, Hoosier North Athletic Conference champions, and Class 2A North Judson-San Pierre Sectional champions.
In fact, the Lancers were preparing for a Class 2A North Judson-San Pierre Regional match up with Bowman Academy before COVID-19 suspended the Indiana High School Athletic Association season and ultimately sent students home.
The IHSAA has since cancelled the boys state basketball tournament.
As the IHSAA considered COVID-19, the fact that schools were not in session, and the safety of all those concerned, the season came to a screeching halt for 64 schools in four classes. The unfortunate decision ended the career of senior basketball players statewide.
LaVille had four seniors – Connor Wieczorek, Austin Dove, Tommy Goze, and Jimmy Fischer – that played an impact on the success of the 2019-2020 season, including the Lancers first IHSAA sectional title since 2015.
The 2019-2020 seniors were part of the most successful four-year career since Michael Edison took the reigns 12 years ago, compiling a 78-18 overall record. That mark surpassed the 76-24 mark set by the Class of 2018. Along the way, the 2020 four seniors were a part 17-7, 23-1, 19-4, and 19-6 seasons. Those 78 victories were also a part of three HNAC titles, and a TCU Bi-County Basketball Championship in 2018.
“I was very fortunate and blessed to have coached an amazing group of guys this year!” said Edison. “Everyone from the freshmen up to the seniors had a role and really did an excellent job at fulfilling their specific part in the journey we were all on.
“I have had some unbelievable groups of seniors throughout my coaching career and this group of 4 continued to hold the bar high,” continued Edison. “I have the utmost respect for each one of them and will miss them immensely! They were all instrumental in helping us win a sectional title this year.”
Leading the way was four-year varsity letter winner Connor Wieczorek.
“Connor had an amazing career as a Lancer basketball player,” said Edison of his point-guard. “He is one of the most competitive players I have coached. He led our team in so many areas this year! As the point guard, he was in charge of running our offense and making sure everyone was in the correct position. He usually guarded the other teams best player and had a relentless motor when it came to pestering another player and keeping him from doing what he wanted to do. Connor did an excellent job distributing the ball and getting other people involved. He led us in both assists and steals. Whenever Connor was on the floor I felt like we had a chance to win because I knew he was going to do everything he could to will himself and his teammates to a victory.”
Along with Wieczorek’s contributions, was probably the most improved player, forward Jimmy Fischer.
“Jimmy Fischer improved so much from last season to this year,” Edison said of his 6-foot-2 forward. “In key crunch times I felt as comfortable with the ball in Jimmy’s hands as I did in anyone else’s. He was strong with the ball, was able to make good decisions, and could step up to the free-throw line and knock down pressure shots from the charity stripe.
“There were many games where he pulled down rebound after rebound when they were much needed! Jimmy had a couple really big three pointers in our sectional final game that really gave us the boost we needed to get over the hump,” continued Edison. “Jimmy wears an infectious smile on his face, but that can’t be confused with how competitive he is. When it is practice time or game time he is all business. Not only has he continued to grow each year with his basketball ability, but he has blossomed into a respected young adult.”
Fischer was one of three post players, along with Dove and Goze, that could play big when Edison needed, but could also step outside to hit a 3-pointer. Dove returned to the basketball floor after taking his junior year off.
“It was so much fun to have Austin Dove as part of the team this year. Austin is able to naturally do some things that others are not able to do,” Edison said of his 6-foot-4 forward. “He was one of our best rebounders and he was also amazing at getting deflections. At different times throughout the year he was able to get the crowd into the game with one of his spectacular dunks! His athleticism and length were tough for other teams to match up with at times. On defense Austin had the unique ability to talk, which really helped direct his teammates and keep them in their places. There were countless games when Austin gave us a big spark with the key offensive rebound and put back.”
Goze filled his role as virtually the next man up when it came to post players and drew the starting nod in the sectional title game following an injury to Dove.
“Tommy Goze is so respected by his teammates and coaches simply because of the way he treats others,” Edison said of his 6-foot-3 forward. “Whenever we had early practice in the morning he was almost always one of the first 3 people to show up. He, along with Connor and Jimmy, were always ready to get going. He also would stay long after practice just working on his shooting, specifically free throw shooting. It was not uncommon for he and Bobby Good to be shooting long after everyone else had gone home. This extra work and dedication definitely paid off on the court. Tommy stepped up to the free-throw line and hit two key free throws against Argos early in the season that gave us a chance to win that game. There were a couple other games where he stepped back and hit some big shots and felt the confidence to do so simply because he had worked on it so much.
“Tommy played key minutes for us throughout the season and really had a big challenge in the sectional championship game as he filled in for Austin,” continued Edison, referring to Goze being called upon in the sectional final. “He did an outstanding job just like I expected him to do because of his preparation throughout the year.”
As Edison watches the Lancer Basketball Class of 2020 pick up their diplomas in the next couple of months, he concluded: “It will be tough next year not coaching these 4 guys. While I will miss what they bring to the game of basketball, I will miss even more the time that we shared together each and every day at practice as they were positive leaders to their younger teammates.”