Waukon boys basketball team plays to best regular season record in seven years during 12-10 campaign of 2014-2015

The Waukon boys basketball team put together one of its most successful regular seasons in recent history, posting a 12-9 regular season record before having its 2014-2015 campaign brought to a close. The Tribe’s 12-10 final season record included a mark of 5-7 in Northeast Iowa Conference play that left the Indians in a tie for fourth place with a Crestwood team the Tribe split with during the regular season but that ultimately ended the Indians’ season in the opening round of district play.
“This year, we were able to finish the regular season 12-9, which was the best regular season record that a Waukon team has had since the 2007-2008 season,” Waukon boys basketball coach Jed Hemann said of his team’s highlights this season. “We will have five letterwinners returning for next season and expectations should be even higher for our team.”
The Indians were able to sweep season doubleheaders from the two teams that finished below them in the final Northeast Iowa Conference (NEIC) standings, including a couple of tight battles with Charles City and Oelwein. With that split with Crestwood accounting for the Tribe’s only other NEIC win on the year, the Indians weren’t quite able to pull out a victory over any of this season’s NEIC frontrunners or other top-end teams on this season’s schedule.
“We had some really nice wins this season, but we were never able to beat one of the top teams in the conference or a ranked team from the area,” Coach Hemann said. “During the offseason, our guys will need to focus on taking care of the ball, and becoming better defensively. Turnovers seemed to be a common problem in the games that we were not able to win, and there were times that we gave up too many good shots to good teams.”
Six seniors provided the upperclassmen leadership this season, with half of that half dozen making up a majority of this season’s starting line-up throughout most of the season. Zach Bieber, Sully Bucheit, Justyn Herman, Jake Ronan, Landon Sivesind and Brock Waters each played their final games in a Waukon boys basketball uniform this year.
“Our seniors have been a great example for our younger players,” Coach Hemann said. “They have improved tremendously during their high school years and the record of their teams improved each season that they were in high school. Hopefully our younger players can see what this year’s seniors have accomplished through a lot of work in the offseason, and we can take things to another level.”
While members of this season’s junior class paced nearly every statistical category, several of this year’s seniors were right up there among those final numbers leaders. Herman converted a team-high 40 three-point field goals to finish second on the team in scoring with 212 points, with Ronan finishing second with 72 assists and 37 steals and Waters claiming second-place team honors with 93 rebounds.
Junior Haden Hammel was the trend setter in three of this season’s final statistical categories, claiming top honors with 239 points, 131 rebounds and 31 blocked shots. Fellow junior Peyton Hesse dished out a team-high 87 assists and also paced the Indian defense with 41 steals in a mostly non-starting role this season. For their efforts this season, Ronan was named to the All-Conference Second Team and Hammel received All-Conference Honorable Mention among their Northeast Iowa Conference peers.
Although the fact that this season’s final statistical numbers were all topped by juniors who will be part of the five returning letterwinners the Indians will benefit from next season, Coach Hemann knows that the accomplishments of this season don’t necessarily translate into future success all by themselves.
“This off-season we need to be focused on taking things to another level,” Coach Hemann said. “To get there, we need to do more than our opponents. We have some talented players coming back, and we also have some good young players that we want to continue to improve to take our program to new levels.”