UPPER THUMB — Over the years, selecting the top players for the All-Huron Daily Tribune Boys Basketball Team has been relatively easy.
Usually, there are 10-12 players who are clearly a cut above the field.
Not this season.
While there were a few obvious picks, the spread between the final few spots on the first team and the first few honorable mention slots was minimal.
That’s how close it was this season.
The 2010-11 All-Huron Daily Tribune Boys Basketball Team consists of Bad Axe’s Jesse Quinn, Cass City’s Alex Varney, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port’s Chase Voelker, Harbor Beach’s Sean Sorenson and Andrew Siemen, North Huron’s Erik Dhyse, Ubly’s Marshall Leipprandt and Unionville-Sebewaing Area’s Jake Holland.
For the second consecutive season, Harbor Beach’s Ron Wruble was voted Coach of the Year.
Holland and Leipprandt were the only unanimous selections, and are the co-captains of the squad, which is voted on by area coaches and the Tribune’s sports staff.
Leipprandt, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, went from a key reserve as a sophomore for the Bearcats to arguably the best all-around player in the Greater Thumb Conference.
Leipprandt averaged 18.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He scored in double figures in all 22 outings, including pouring in a career-high 30 points against Sandusky late in the season.
“He just has a great work ethic,” said Ubly coach Ken Pichla. “He’s dedicated himself to basketball and it shows. He will do anything for you.”
Leipprandt also shot over 70 percent from the foul line and made 14 three-pointers.
“Early in the year, we actually wanted him to shoot more,” Pichla said. “He was too unselfish and wanted to get everyone involved.”
Leipprandt wound up scoring 20 or more points in six of his final nine games.
Leipprandt earned special mention All-State honors, as well as first-team All-GTE accolades.
Holland, a 6-6 senior center, missed the first two games of the season for the Patriots — both losses. The Patriots then wound up winning five of their next six games, with Holland scoring in double figures in five of those contests.
For the year, Holland averaged 15.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. He had a couple of 20-plus point outings, including 26 against Bad Axe and 22 against Cass City.
Holland, a second-team All-Tribune pick a season ago, was a first-team All-GTW selection this year.
Sorenson, a 6-foot senior forward, started slowly this season, but came on and had several big games for the Pirates down the stretch.
He averaged 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds, turning in several double digit performances late in the year and in the post-season.
“Sean gave us some offensive firepower from the perimeter this year,” said Harbor Beach coach Ron Wruble. “He also provided some good pressure defense, too.”
Sorenson’s most valuable performance might have been in the Class C district championship game against USA. He scored a team-high 16 points, including 14 and four three-pointers in the opening half, in the Pirates’ last-second win over the Patriots.
Sorenson was a second-team All-GTE pick this season.
Sorenson’s teammate, Siemen, provided Harbor Beach with an inside presence, as well as a threat from the outside.
The 6-2 sophomore forward averaged 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds.
“He’s really not that big, but he’s quick on his feet and quick off his feet,” Wruble said. “And he has a pretty solid jump shot from the outside, as well.”
Siemen’s biggest bucket of the year came late in the fourth quarter of the district title game against USA. With the Pirates trailing by two with 1:35 to play, Siemen buried a big three-pointer, giving his team the momentum it needed to pull out the victory.
USA coach Mark Gainforth later said if that shot does not go in, his Patriots might have won the championship.
Siemen also was a second-team All-GTE pick this season.
Voelker was under the radar for much of the season for the Lakers, who struggled by losing several close games.
The 6-2 senior forward averaged 10.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals. He had season highs of 19 points against Ubly and 16 rebounds against Vassar.
“Chase is a relentless worker who became a great rebounder at the end of the season,” said EPBP coach Jeremy Macejewski. “His work ethic and attitude are second to none.”
Voelker also earned second-team All-GTW honors this season.
Quinn became the leader for the Hatchets this season, taking over full-time point guard duties. The 5-11 junior averaged 10.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 3.3 steals. He also was one of the area’s top free throw shooters.
“Jesse is a good all-around player,” said Bad Axe coach Jim Quinn. “He plays good defense while handling the ball a lot. He had a couple of games with no turnovers.
“He works hard and loves the game.”
Quinn had season highs of 26 points against Reese and Cass City, as well as 11 assists against USA and Sandusky.
Quinn, an honorable mention All-Tribune pick last season, also was a second-team All-GTW selection this season.
Varney, a 5-10 senior guard, averaged 12 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He teamed with fellow guard Justin Ketterer to give the Red Hawks a nifty 1-2 backcourt combination.
“Alex is a three-year starter who always gave 100 percent,” said Cass City coach Jim Green.
Varney had a season-high 25-point outburst late in the season against Reese.
Varney, a second-team All-Tribune pick last season, also earned first-team All-GTW honors this year.
Dhyse is the lone Class D player on the squad. The 6-1 senior forward averaged 13.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.6 steals.
“Erik was our do-it-all player,” said North Huron coach Dave Toner. “He easily led the team in rebounding and scoring. His intensity and competitiveness are second to none. He was a hard worker who never quit.”
Dhyse had a couple of 20-plus point outings, including 22-point efforts against Memphis and Kingston, and a 21-point outburst against Akron-Fairgrove. He also had a 14-rebound effort against Peck.
Dhyse, a second-team All-Tribune pick a year ago, also earned first-team All-North Central Thumb League North Division honors this season.
Wruble said his team’s success was due to the overall effort his players gave this season. After missing out on the GTE championship with two league losses at the end of the regular season, the Pirates responded with three straight post-season wins to capture their second consecutive Class C district title.
“I would have been very disappointed if this team didn’t come away with at least something, with the way they have worked and the season they had,” Wruble said. “We have some talent, but these kids work their tails off — and that’s the main reason why we’ve won.”
Harbor Beach finished 17-6 overall.
The All-Tribune second team is Cass City’s Justin Ketterer and Cameron Dunnuck, Harbor Beach’s Scott Grekowicz and Eli Kraft, Ubly’s Eric Booms, USA’s Andrew Botello, Caseville’s Charlie Karafa, Owendale-Gagetown’s Hunter Champagne, North Huron’s Kevin Rice and Deckerville’s Rick Wilfong.
Bad Axe – Jeremy Pawlowski, Ethan Sisco; Caseville – Tommy Kennedy, Tyler Claydon; Cass City – Cody Orban, Morgan Erla; Deckerville – Justin Asher, John Decker; EPBP – Tim Warack, Brody Lawrence; Harbor Beach – Aaron Ginther; North Huron – Evan Dhyse, Mike Schramski, Eric LesPerance, Tony Murawski; Owen-Gage – Clyde Rhodes, Andrew Fahrner, Eric Montreuil; Port Hope – Eric Koglin, Travis Phillips; Ubly – Lenny Nowicki, Josh White; USA – Dakota Gangler, Sean McBrayer, Nick Fletcher
|CO-CAPTAIN – USA’s Jake Holland|
|CO-CAPTAIN – Ubly’s Marshall Leipprandt|
|EPBP’S CHASE VOELKER|
|NORTH HURON’S ERIK DHYSE|