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Written By Ink Free News / Sports on Friday, March 20, 2020

Wawasee’s Austin Miller was one of the top scorers in the area at 15.4 points per night, and landed on the IFN Boys Basketball All-Area list. (Photos by Mike Deak and James Costello)

WARSAW – The ability to take over basketball games is the connecting trait for the headliners of our 2019-20 Ink Free News Boys Basketball All-Area selections. Our pick for Player of the Year, NorthWood’s Trent Edwards, had an uncanny knack for picking the right moments to make huge plays in helping NorthWood to yet another sectional title. The other four choices for our First Team also had the ability to take over games with a scorer’s touch.

IFN First Team

Trent Edwards, NorthWood — Only a concussion in the sectional championship slowed down Trent Edwards this season. The steady and consistent senior did a little of everything in helping NorthWood to its ninth sectional championship. NorthWood quietly won 18 games this season, and Edwards was the lynch pin, leading the team in over a half-dozen stat categories. His all-around game afforded him our pick as Ink Free News Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Seth Martin, Lakeland Christian Academy – He has the look, and his game is rapidly improving. There were times this season when Seth Martin looked like he would drop 50 on someone. After the first four games of his career, he was averaging 23.7 points per game. An injury against Triton, however, slowed Martin, but he eventually found his scoring touch with 23 points against Tri-Central and South Bend Community Baptist, and then 21 against Northfield in his first-ever sectional appearance, which spearheaded LCA’s first sectional championship game appearance. The high-energy freshman also pulled down double-digit rebounds in seven games and had at least two steals in 12 contests.

Austin Miller, Wawasee — Miller made a good case on several occasions for the top player overall. His 15.4 points per game, which included a 28-point clinic over Lakeland in the sectional, was impressive. Miller’s 27 points against Goshen kept the Warriors in line for a conference win. Miller also had standout games against West Noble and Columbia City during the season, both wins which helped Wawasee to 14 ‘W’s for the first time since it won 17 in 2011. Miller’s 45 three-pointers were his calling card, but he also developed a very good defensive game with a team-leading 61 steals to go with 59 rebounds.

Ashton Oviedo, Triton — Quietly in Bourbon, coach Jason Groves is building another solid ball club. At the pinnacle of the Trojans lineup was Oviedo, who took a giant step in helping the team to its first winning season in three years. Oviedo scored 330 points as a sophomore, averaging 13.2 per game for the 14-11 Trojans. He also led the team in assists (57), steals (54) and drilled 67 three pointers, shooting 43 percent from deep. It was his work at the end of the season that helped Triton to a sectional final, scoring 46 points in the three tournament games and added eight steals and seven assists.

Tanner Trippiedi, Tippecanoe Valley — The eye test can sometimes skew an opinion of how important a player is with limited samples. But what Lakeland did in shutting down Trippiedi in the sectional proved just how valuable Trippiedi was to Tippecanoe Valley. Trippiedi had quite a stretch run in his senior season, where he averaged 19.6 points per game in the team’s final five regular season games, including 28 against Maconaquah and 23 versus NorthWood. He also had 21 rebounds, 14 assists and 13 steals in those games, seven steals against North Miami and eight rebounds against Maconaquah. For the season, Trippiedi averaged 10.7 points, 3.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game as the only senior on an up-and-coming Vikings squad.

IFN Second Team

Luke Adamiec, Warsaw  — The 2019-20 version of Warsaw’s Tigers was built more around a team dynamic than it was around any single player. While none of his stats were exactly jaw-dropping, junior forward Luke Adamiec was the team’s statistical leader in multiple categories. His 9.9 points per game and 4.5 rebounds an outing were both team highs, and he also averaged 1.6 assists a night from the interior as the team tried to work inside-out to its shooters. The 6’4” frontcourter also provided the Tigers with a physical defensive presence on the interior.

Ethan Hardy, Wawasee — Wawasee boys basketball enjoyed a huge turnaround in 2019-20. It wasn’t that this year’s Warriors were the most athletic team, but they did play with passion and Ethan Hardy exemplified that inspired play perfectly. Hardy was good for 10 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game, and he also passed out about two assists a night from the inside. That last stat is telling because it shows how the senior forward played within himself — when he scored he did so at an ultra-efficient 51.4 percent clip from the floor.

Tyler Heckaman, Triton – The Trojans had characteristically skilled guard play, to be sure, but the team’s secret sauce was likely the development of Tyler Heckaman as a scoring threat on the interior. Always a reliable rebounder and solid defender — he continued to battle on the boards this season with a team-best 7.6 rebounds an outing in addition to recording 20 blocked shots and 22 steals — his ability to score the ball changed the dynamic and gave opponents a more balanced look. Heckaman finished the season with a 10.7 points per game average, which he earned at a near-47-percent clip from the floor and helped free shooters up on the perimeter.

Paul Leasure, Tippecanoe Valley — “He’s a freshman!” Paul Leasure’s play over the 2019-20 season should give Tippecanoe Valley fans something to be excited about in years to come. The freshman gym rat showed a serious knack for scoring the ball with a team-best 13.6 points an outing. But while the smooth guard was mostly a scoring threat for the Vikings, he also managed to average two rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. An overwhelmingly young Valley roster took its lumps over a 9-14 campaign this winter, but with Leasure back to lead the charge next season, the future looks bright for the Vikings.

Ben Vincent, NorthWood — While Trent Edwards was putting up the most eye-popping numbers for NorthWood this past season, Ben Vincent was quietly getting the job done in the backcourt. Vincent put up an average of 8.8 points per game — second only to Edwards — while clutching 1.4 caroms and passing out 1.4 assists per night. A steady presence handling the ball for the Panthers, the sharp-shooting Vincent did much of his scoring from beyond the arc, where he converted at a better-than-46-percent clip for the year.

IFN Honorable Mention

Brock Flickinger, NorthWood; Jamarr Jackson, NorthWood; Keaton Dukes, Wawasee; Kam Salazar, Wawasee; Dawson Perkins, Tippecanoe Valley; Brock Poe, Warsaw; Jaylen Coon, Warsaw; Wyatt Amiss, Warsaw; Blake Marsh, Warsaw; Quentin Amsden, Triton; Tyson Yates, Triton; Cam Shepherd, Lakeland Christian


Posted In: Boy's Sports > Basketball