JOHNSONBURG – The Johnsonburg Ram boys basketball team was honored with a banquet Sunday afternoon at Johnsonburg Area High School.
Johnsonburg varsity head coach Bill Shuey announced the award winners which were based on statistics from the season. Senior Joe Holmberg won the rebounding award.
“Joe is a competitor. Joe will give you everything that he has, every minute of the game,” Shuey said. “He led the team in rebounds this year and had 545 points for his career, just a pleasure to coach. When the game was on the line, Joe was going to give it his all.”
Fellow senior Louie Imbrogno won the award for best offensive player.
“Louie made the AML All-Stars, he was selected for the Kozel All-Star Game,” Shuey said. “He led the team in scoring. He was our point guard. You have to keep everyone into the game and I thought Louie did a good job. He shared the ball, hit the open guy and was a team leader. He had a good career, I really appreciate his commitment to the program.”
Mitchell Holmberg was the recipient of the Hustle Award.
“Mitchell is a good defensive player,” Shuey said. “He was always in there getting rebounds and fighting hard. He led the team in taking offensive charges. He was also a guy we could put on the low block and he has the low block moves to score. There’s a lot of good things to come from Mitch.”
Quinn Luhr was named as the Most Improved Player.
“As the season, Quinn caught our eye as a player that was going to work hard and he wanted to make a difference for the team,” Shuey said. “Quinn got put in a position he wasn’t comfortable with playing inside. By running the drills every day in practice, he got very good at it. He came a long way. He was up high in rebounds for the team.”
Freshman Cole Peterson was named as the Defensive MVP.
“I thought we played good defense as a team but there was one player that stood out,” Shuey said. “We put this player on their best point guard or best wing guy. Coaching Cole is very easy, he’s attentive and wants to get better at all costs. He gives it his all.”
Shuey opened his remarks by talking about how the team came together as the year went on.
“We started the season with some more intense practices,” Shuey said. “All in all, it was a competitive year not only on the court playing another school but at practice. We had a lot of options. We could go small, we could stay big. We could press, we could do a lot of things. I think at the beginning of the year, the chemistry wasn’t there and as the year went on, you could see that the chemistry was definitely developing.
“The progress and improvement of the team, I knew we had good players, it was the team that really improved throughout the year,” Shuey said. “Through the year, we became more patient, more methodical. We understood the game, we understood our teammates better, there was a lot of good basketball played down the stretch. We had a great game against Brookville and we won at DuBois. You could see the progress this team made. I was very proud of them. We had a lot of young players see some valuable time at the varsity level. Young players have a lot of experience at the JV level. The referees would come up and say ‘It was a pleasure doing your game.’ Your kids were sportsmen, they were well-mannered.’ They represented themselves, their schools and their families very well.”
Shuey then introduced the players starting with the freshmen and Cameron Grumley.
“Cameron is a player that has very good instincts about the game,” Shuey said. “Games that he came in and the ones that stand out, not only the game we lost to Union, but the game against Brookville. He and Cole had their guards on the ropes.”
Freshman C.J. Herbstritt saw playing time but had his season ended early with an injury.
“He was seeing some time on the varsity level and doing a great job at the JV level,” Shuey said.
Shuey was impressed with the versatility shown by Frank Kocjancic.
“He has a lot of low-block moves. He’s relentless on the boards,” Shuey said. “He’s a fun player to watch on the low block.”
Shuey said J.P. Allegretto has improved his shooting.
“J.P. started some games this season,” Shuey said. “We knew that he could shoot. J.P.’s a hard worker in practice. He’s always got a smile on his face, a joke to tell. I don’t know what the team would be without him. He’s definitely improved his shooting.”
Luke Shreffler was complimented for his shooting.
“Luke has the ability in some games where he doesn’t miss anything,” Shuey said. “Some games it may take him a couple shots to get that rhythm. He seemed to pick up his game this year. Offensively, we relied on his shooting.”
Bill Bliss was another player whose season ended with an injury.
“When we played Brookville, a much bigger team, he didn’t give an inch,” Shuey said. “Consistency is what we’re looking for next year and I’m sure he’ll deliver it.”
Shuey spoke of Mitchell Vallone and his adjustment to playing inside the 3-point line.
“I thought he did a very good job inside even though it was a little bit different for him,” Shuey said.
Mike Shuey was able to play late in the season and coach Shuey recognized him for his work this season.
Shuey expressed his appreciation to the administration, athletic director Jill Casilio, the workers in the concession stand, his wife Donna and all the assistant coaches on all of the levels of the program.