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April 27, 2014

King of the court: Keisling earns top honor

Senior guard led Lewis Cass to regional title

Austin Keisling did not know what to expect his senior season at Lewis Cass after the Kings had back-to-back .500 seasons the previous two years.

Little did Keisling know that the Kings were in store for one of their finest years in the 50-year history of the school.

The Kings went 22-3 and made a run to the semistate, and Keisling is the 2014 Loganland Player of the Year.

Keisling, a 5-11 guard, averaged 18.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game for the Kings this season. He scored exactly 1,100 points for his career.

He shot 47 percent from the field, 30 percent from the 3-point line and 76 percent from the foul line.

“He started the season off strong and finished even stronger,” Cass coach Jon Kitchel said. “He had big games in the tournament against really good teams and against really good players. Wapahani had two Division-I players on their team and as far as I’m concerned he outplayed them.”

While the Kings went on a 20-game win streak this season and earned a No. 7 ranking in Class 2A, what they’ll probably remember most is their deep tournament run.

They ran through their sectional taking the best shots against Wabash, Manchester and Oak Hill and winning each game handily.

They then knocked off No. 3 Wapahani 63-62 in a regional semifinal game. Keisling scored 26 points and hit the game-winning free throw with 22 seconds left in the win.

He also hit a huge 3 midway through the fourth quarter after Wapahani had built a six-point lead.

“Being a senior you think you have to pull through, you can’t shy away from the challenge,” he said. “I took the ball into my hands and I knew Blake [Hadley] would do the same.

“The Wapahani game, I like being the underdog. It felt worse playing sectionals than regionals because after sectionals we felt like we were the underdogs so we could just go out there and play. Being the underdog and beating that team — I think we were predicted to lose by 13 — it felt great. Beating that team with two Division I players shows that we had some players on our team and size does not matter when you play basketball.”

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