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No quit in Indians

Lemont boys hoops satisfies coach with season-long improvement

Lemont's Mike Wisz fights off a pair of Thornton Fractional North defenders in a Feb. 18 game. Wisz was a senior and the only returning starter for the Indians.
Lemont's Mike Wisz fights off a pair of Thornton Fractional North defenders in a Feb. 18 game. Wisz was a senior and the only returning starter for the Indians.

LEMONT - For a Lemont boys basketball team which returned only one starter, reaching the 15-win mark was a notable accomplishment.

But that doesn't mean that head coach Rick Runaas was completely satisfied.

"I would say I was mildly pleased," Runaas said about the recently completely 2013-14 campaign in which the Indians finished with a 15-13 mark. "We didn't reach my highest expectations, but fortunately we didn't fall to my worst fears."

Runaas was most happy with how his team stuck together while dealing with some injuries and playing against a tough schedule.

"I thought that showed at the end of the year in how we played, especially in light of Mike [Wisz] getting hurt," he said. "It could have been easy to fold our tents with four games remaining, but we did the opposite. There is a satisfaction a coach gets out of seeing his team improve before his eyes. That was good."

Wisz wrapped up an impressive three-year varsity career as the all-time winningest player in program history.

"The last three years he has been a part of 62 wins," the coach said. "He has supreme confidence, but he also knows when he takes a bad shot. But he thinks, actually he knows, that he is going to make the next one."

Rounding out the senior class was Luis Marquez, Ethan Chester, Austen Gumber, David Czupta, Ben Groselak and Grant Mandell.

"Luis had a real nice year," Runaas said. "He led us in rebounding at about six rebounds per game. He was our best free throw shooter at 78 percent and he led us in blocks. Something clicked in February, and when you talk about the improvements we made as a team, Luis was most responsible for that.

"I'm very grateful for all [the seniors] did. They stuck with it and listened to coaching and always tried to do what they were told."

Lemont will return a group of players who received valuable playing time this winter, including juniors Jack Valone and Ryan Shereck and sophomores Austin Tittle and Rory Cunningham. Freshman PJ Pipes was called up at the end of the year and saw playing time in the postseason.

"I think we are looking OK for the future," Runaas said. "The key thing for us is to work together and work on our games (in the offseason)."


Senior roll call

• Ethan Chester

• David Czupta

• Ben Groselak

• Austen Gumber

• Grant Mandell

• Luis Marquez

• Mike Wisz

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