Growel next up as player of the year
DELAVAN — The name of the player has changed, but the uniform is the same, for the Player of the Year on the 17th-annual All-Walworth County Boys' Basketball Team. Senior guard Jake Growel made it four years in a row for East Troy High School to hold the top spot.
“I love keeping the tradition and legacy going on,” said the 6-foot-3 Growel. The Trojans' Nate Dodge earned the honor last year, following two years as POY for Tanner Plomb. East Troy's Alex Bondar also was the POY in 2008.
Rounding out the first team are: Arik Anderson, Elkhorn Area; Joe Ingersoll, Faith Christian; Adam Lechelt, Williams Bay; and Lincoln Wieseman, Lake Geneva Badger. Wieseman is a junior, while the others are seniors.
Growel put up the numbers — 18.1 points per game, 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists — to make the first team All-Rock Valley Conference and to earn honorable mention all-state. For East Troy, it was good just to have him playing for its team this past season.
Growel was a varsity starter for Badger for his first two years of high school before moving to East Troy. Then he missed his junior season.
“I lost my whole junior year because of a bad hip injury in an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) tourney,” he said, adding that he is still not 100 percent back as he wants to improve “my quickness and stanima; I lost some of that. It was a challenge to get back from that injury.”
Anderson, with 751 career points, was named second team All-Southern Lakes Conference as a junior and a senior.
He did a bit of everything for us this year,” said Elkhorn coach John Handel. “He scored, defended, handled the ball, and played inside when we needed him to.”
Ingersoll was his conference's Player of the Year this year and was selected to the Wisconisn Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Division 5 team.
“He was a four-year starter and scored over 1,000 points and over 500 rebounds for his career — a great team leader,” said his coach, Brian Pollard.
Lechelt was a first-team selection in the Trailways South Conference, scoring 920 points in his career.
“Adam needed to be on the court for our team to succeed,” said Williams Bay Coach Troy Nottestad.
It was quite a different season for the Trojans without first-team all-county performers from the year before in Dodge, who joined Plomb at Army, and twin “big men” Brett and Alex Prahl, who are at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“It was definitely a more team-oriented type of style,” said Growel. “The first couple of weeks were kind of tough. We had to figure out ways to make things easier. We figured out the only way to win was as a team. Everyone found a role and accepted it.”
Growel, as the lone senior playing a key role, said he became “the glue guy,” helping out when there were issues that came up.
“I most improved my passing and my leadership,” he said. “If there was a problem, we had to resolve that right away. I was always in the middle of that.”
Growel said he definitely plans to play basketball in college, but where that will be is not yet finalized. It is possible he could join the Prahls at UWM, as the Panthers have shown interest.
One person not surprised that Growel is the POY is former teammate Wieseman, a second team All-SLC player.
“Jacob was one of my best friends at Badger,” said the 6-4 Wieseman. “He started the line of freshmen getting brought up to varsity and there is no doubt he has a lot of talent. It hurt when he left, but I respect the decision...Ever since the fifth grade at the YMCA, we both loved to compete and that stuff never dies.”
Likewise, Growel was not surprised to see his pal make the all-county first team.
“No surprise at all,” said Growel. “I remember him (Wieseman) as a sixth-grader playing up and doing well...Because of his size, strength and ability to go inside and out, he is a very tough match-up. (He's) my bet for player of the year.