The South Park High School boys’ basketball season was polished off with the announcement of team and player awards during the Burro Sports Banquet, March 6.
Although South Park was unable to reach the advanced bracket during postseason play, the Burro team was well represented throughout the season after claiming achievement of two All-State nominations, one West Central League Most Valuable Player, three All Conference, and one All Conference Honorable Mention honors, along with numerous team awards.
With a season total of 263 points, second-year varsity letter winner, TJ Peter, was able to round out his final high school year of basketball ranked third among top stat leaders of the class 2A/1A West Central League and 45th among all class 2A scorers statewide.
The senior’s all-around court sense also led him to a league finish of 10th in rebounding, grabbing a total of 85 for the season (55 defensive, 30 offensive); seventh in blocks, with a season total of 11 and third in the league and 46th in the state for assists with 49. Shining from one end of the court to the other pushed Peter to the conclusive West Central League’s Most Valuable Player and All Conference titles.
Yet the point guard’s time in the spotlight did not end there, but was just the beginning, as he finished the 2018-19 season ranked first in the league and fourth in the state in steals with a season total of 95. Finding his name among top athletes, Peter was able to break four South Park High School boys basketball records (two-point percentage, steals per game, season steals, and career steals) and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
“Awesome job to my son and his wonderful teammates! They had a great season and with the help from his team, he broke four school records … We are so proud of you,” mom, Kathy Davis-Peter boasted on Facebook.
Peter’s season accomplishments landed him an All-State Basketball Team nomination.
Third-year varsity letter winner and the glue that bonded his team, Daigen Springer finished his high school career with a season total of 131 points, which placed him 11th in scoring among top stat leaders of the West Central League.
The senior was also able to rake in 81 season rebounds (50 defensive, 31 offensive) to close out 11th in the midst of competitors and teammates alike. An aggressive athlete, Springer earned the admiration of league representatives to be recognized as an All Conference Player and was nominated to the All-State Basketball Team.
While most players will give 100 percent and some are credited for giving 110 percent, head coach Bill Wishowski credited No. 11 with giving 120 percent at all practices and games.
“He is after all 120. Coach Bill always gives 120 percent,” mom, Erin Springer posted.
Therefore, Springer was rewarded with the team’s Mr. Hustle Award.
Returning to lead his team next season, Michael Kelley shined from under the basket and piloted his team with a season total of 142 rebounds. Coming to life with each recoil, the junior was able to grasp 82 defensive and 60 offensive boards to rank fourth in the West Central League’s top rebounders and 28th among all 2A rebounders from around the state.
Putting the ball back in the bucket allowed the second-year varsity letter winner to score a season total of 145 points to place ninth within the league; but offense wasn’t his only niche, as Kelley finished ninth in the league with nine blocks on the season. A formidable competitor, Kelley earned the title as an All Conference Player.
The team’s only fourth-year varsity letter winner, Collin Moore, worked his tail off while racking up 48 season steals. The senior’s court hustle pushed ahead for a third- place finish in the league, but highlighted in the top 50 within the state contenders as he finished 34th overall. In addition, Moore was able to support team scoring with 32 season assists, which ranked him eighth in the league, but enhanced the stat with 131 points to finish tenth in the West Central League. Moore’s consistency earned him the respectable All Conference Honorable Mention designation.
First-year letter winners and most improved
Contributing every inch of the way, senior Michael Groome and sophomores Bobby Wallace, Elias Esparza, and Leo Banuelos each warranted and were rewarded with first-year varsity letters, while junior John Saucedo was paid in full with the team’s Most Improved Award.
“This team was a unit. I loved watching every single game, win or lose. Of course, these Burros are all-stars in my eyes,” Erin Springer posted.
Next season hopeful
The Burros will suffer the loss of four strong seniors from this year’s team; however, the team will be left in solid hands and capable feet to fill big shoes.
Topping the totem, next season’s seniors will consist of returning varsity players Michael Kelley, John Saucedo and Aron Susic.
Plentiful in numbers, the upcoming junior class of seven returners will consist of Bobby Wallace, Leo Banuelos, Hector Almeida, Michael Wishowski, Liam Goettelman, Caleb Lindberg and Elias Esparza.
Esparza was able to wrap up his sophomore year with 12 season blocks to rank fifth among top varsity competitors of the West Central League. He also totaled up 91 rebounds (54 defensive, 37 offensive) to finish eighth in the league.
The only freshman to complete the season, Isaac Garcia will be next season’s returning sophomore player.
“[It was] such a fun basketball season. Loved watching these boys play ball,” Burro photographer and mom, Allison Wishowski posted.