Waukon boys basketball team plays to 12-10 season

For the second consecutive season the Waukon boys basketball team posted an imbalance on the more favorable side of its season record, compiling a 12-10 overall record. That overall mark included a 7-5 effort that placed the Indians in third place in the final Northeast Iowa Conference (NEIC) standings.
“We had a winning record for the second season in a row, which hasn’t happened since the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons,” Waukon boys basketball coach Jed Hemann said. “Our younger levels had some solid records as well. We had a strong senior class, but we will also return five letterwinners next season and our expectations will be for us to be even better next season.”
This season’s squad featured five seniors, four of whom were consistent members of the hardcourt Tribe’s starting five and headlined the Indians’ final statistical numbers. Brock Berns, Haden Hammel, Peyton Hesse, Michael Schulte and Wyatt Wille each played their final games in a Waukon boys basketball uniform with completion of this season.
“We have a tremendous group of seniors,” Coach Hemann credited. “They have been great basketball players for us. Four of them received All-Conference awards and have been on a winning team for two straight seasons. Along with their athletic talents, our group of seniors are outstanding young men that will be successful in anything they choose to do.”
The third-place NEIC finish fueled by the veteran experience that senior core brought into this season ultimately yielded All-Conference honors for all four of those seniors in this year’s starting line-up. Hammel was a First Team selection, Berns and Hesse were each Second Team picks, and Wille received Honorable Mention.
As one might expect with a second consecutive winning season headlined by a large group of veteran seniors, some new standards were also set throughout the season. The Indians wasted little time in rewriting the school record book, opening the season with a 67-19 domination of Postville that resulted in new defensive records for the least points allowed (19), fewest field goals allowed (5) and lowest field goal percentage allowed (13.8%).
Additional defensive marks were set by the Indians with a new mark of 88 blocked shots denied this season, a record that’s only been kept since the 2006 season. Fueling that overall team record was a similar new mark set by Hammel, with 48 blocked shots this season, on his way to a new career mark of 81 denials for him.
Berns also etched his name atop the Indian boys basketball record books with a new career field goal shooting percentage of 57.9%. His offensive efficiency helped the basketball Tribe reach a team scoring average over 60 points per game for the first time in at least 10 seasons, according to Coach Hemann.
Even with both defensive and offensive aspects of the game reaching new heights this season, the Indians still had their moments that prevented this season’s winning record from being something even greater. “This season, our greatest challenge was taking care of the ball,” Coach Hemann said of his team’s biggest downfall. “In the games where we took care of the ball well, we played well.  When that didn’t happen, we struggled. This will be a focus of ours during the offseason. Ball security needs to be a priority at all levels.”
In addition to his new blocked shots standard, Hammel further led the Indian efforts this season with 365 points scored and 223 rebounds. Berns finished just behind him with 360 points scored and also grabbed a runner-up total of 141 boards. Hesse furthered that senior statistical leadership with team highs of 126 assists and 48 steals.
Assisting those senior leaders was a representation from each of the remaining three varsity eligible grade levels, setting the stage for a considerable returning nucleus of experience for next season. Although a vast majority of this season’s starting line-up will be a graduation casualty, Coach Hemann will look to that returning veteran core and what they may have learned from this season’s senior leaders to keep the Waukon boys basketball program moving forward in the positive direction it has been the past couple seasons.
“Most of our basketball players are very busy athletes,” Coach Hemann said. “We expect our guys to go out for track and put in the time in the weightroom three to four days per week. In addition to this, we will be doing skill development two to three times per week throughout the off-season and we will have some summer tournaments that we will be in as well. We have had winning records the past couple of seasons, but we have higher expectations, and for us to pass some of the teams ahead of us, we need to do more in the off-season and make ourselves better than our opponents.”


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