Austin Keisling and the Lewis Cass boys basketball team certainly celebrated the school’s 50th anniversary in style.
The Kings were golden this year, going 22-3 and making a run to the semistate.
Keisling said he didn’t know it was Cass’ 50th anniversary until after the basketball season.
“That’s a good note to end on for my senior year,” he said.
Keisling was a four-year starter for the Kings and this year was the first of his career they went over .500. They went 6-15 his freshman year and then 11-12 and 10-11.
But this year they turned things around with their 22-3 campaign.
“Coming back from last year you’d think that we’d just be just another average team. So coming back and going 22-3 was unexpected,” Keisling said. “It’s a great surprise to me and to the rest of the community and it was just a great celebration for the rest of the community.”
After starting 2-2 with early losses to Logansport and Hamilton Heights, they embarked on a 20-game winning streak.
Among the big regular-season wins were victories over Logansport, Winamac, Northwestern, Western and Tipton.
They entered the tournament ranked No. 7 in Class 2A and then went on a run. They swept through the Manchester Sectional with wins over Wabash, Manchester and Oak Hill for their ninth sectional title and first since 2007.
They then knocked off No. 3 Wapahani 63-62 in a regional semifinal game before another win over Tipton, 55-47, in the regional final. It was the Kings’ second ever regional title and first since the state championship season of 2003.
Their run was ended by Westview at the semistate in a 65-58 defeat. The game could have gone either way and Keisling was proud of the turnout of Kings fans.
“Going into the semistate you’d think the nerves would be shot already but they just kept on coming. It was a very great experience,” he said. “The house was packed. It was probably one of the best memories I’ll ever remember.