Four underclassmen from Huckabay and Lingleville have been named to the Class A Division II all-region team.
Huckabay is represented by sophomores Marty Yates and Mario Lopez. They are joined on the all-region roster by Lingleville’s Nery Suarez, a junior, and Robert VanKranenbjurg, a freshman.
Yates scored 14.3 points while grabbing 7.2 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 2.1 assists. Lopez was just as well-rounded, tallying 10.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 4.2 steals for the Indians.
The sophomore tandem led Huckabay to second place in District 25A-Division II before carrying the Indians to the regional tournament for the second time in head coach Dean Edwards’ 10 seasons at the helm of the traditional power.
“The way we play, we’re never going to have anybody that has really awesome scoring totals,” said Edwards. “But as hard as those kids play, and as good as they are about being team players on both ends of the floor has made them good overall basketball players who can fill a lot of different stat columns.”
For Lingleville, Suarez averaged 21 points, four steals and four assists, and VanKranenburg scored 17 points, grabbed five boards and collected four steals per game.
The Cardinals placed third in the same district as Huckabay.
“They do stuff other than score points,” said second-year Lingleville head coach Jance Morris. “They get a lot of steals and dish off to each other. A lot of our offense is created by defense.
“They are underrated defensive players,” Morris continued. “They may be in the paper for scoring a lot of points, but Nery will get after you on defense and Robert creates problems for people, too.”
Both coaches say the success of their teams was a major contributor to the prestigious individual honors.
“A lot of the coaches who vote for awards like this don’t see our kids play unless they see them once or twice because they are scouting us or watching us in the playoffs,” Edwards said. “But when you’re successful, the coaches know they better check out how your kids are doing. We made the regional tournament, so that definitely gave us a leg up in the all-region voting.”
All four standouts will be back to lead their teams next year.
“I think it’s huge that we have (Lopez and Yates) back,” Edwards said. “The confidence level they will bring, and all the intangibles they bring are going to be huge for us. We have four starters back and some hungry young kids coming up, so I’m excited about next year.”
So is Morris.
“I think any coach in the state would like to have two returning all-region players,” Morris said. “I’m pleased they’re coming back. It will be Nery’s senior year, so it’s going to be time for him to step up even more than he has.”