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Thursday, 08 May 2014 00:00

Growel next up as All-Walworth County basketball player of the year

Written by  Thom Aiello for Walworth County Sunday
2013-'14 All-Walworth County boys basketball team, from the left, Arik Anderson of Elkhorn, Joe Ingersoll of Faith Christian, Lincoln Wieseman of Badger, player of the year Jake Growel of East Troy and Adam Lechelt of Williams Bay. 2013-'14 All-Walworth County boys basketball team, from the left, Arik Anderson of Elkhorn, Joe Ingersoll of Faith Christian, Lincoln Wieseman of Badger, player of the year Jake Growel of East Troy and Adam Lechelt of Williams Bay. Dan Plutchak/staff

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- The player’s name is different, 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.

Also on the first team are Arik Anderson, Elkhorn; Joe Ingersoll, Faith Christian; Adam Lechelt, Williams Bay and Lincoln Wieseman, Badger. Wieseman is a junior, while the others are seniors.

Read the current edition here:

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 stamina; I lost some of that."

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," Growel said. "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."

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 the UW-Milwaukee, as the Panthers have shown interest.

One person not surprised that Growel is the POY is former teammate Wieseman.

"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 next year."

Wieseman, a second-team choice in the Southern Lakes Conference, led the Badgers in rebounding for the second season in a row with 6.8 per game. He averaged 11.7 points and 1.4 assists per game.

"I believe the strength of my game is rebounding the basketball, pushing it down court and making a play, whether it be a score or a pass to my teammate," Wieseman said.

The 6-4 Anderson, voted team most valuable player and second-team all-SLC as a junior and senior, plans to play basketball at Edgewood College in Madison next season. He will major in computer science. He averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

"A strength of mine would be my ability to create a shot," he said. "A highlight would be scoring 27 points (5 of 5 on three-point shooting) against Milton, although we lost."

The 5-9 Lechelt was a first-team all-Trailways South choice. He averaged 16.2 ppg and 3.2 assists as a senior, while finishing with 920 career points. He plans to play basketball at the University of Northwestern St. Paul in Minnesota in the fall.

"The No. 1 strength in my game is my shooting ability and being able to hit shots from anywhere, even 25-27 feet out," he said. "I also excel at controlling the tempo and dribble as I am a point guard. The highlight of my season has been scoring 31 points against Big Foot with seven ‘threes’ and beating them as well."                                                                                                                              

The 6-3 Ingersoll was his conference’s player of the year and a first-team selection as a junior and senior, He was chosen to the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s Division 5 all-star team. He averaged 20 points and 11.8 rebounds per game this past season and has more than 1,000 points and 500 rebounds for his prep career. Ingersoll was a four-year starter.

The all-county team is selected by Walworth County coaches and media members. The girls’ squad will be featured next Sunday.

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