Many fans may have expected a huge dropoff following the graduation of one of the best classes to ever play for the Logansport boys basketball program.

But two of the key returnees would not let that happen. Sam Skaggs and Will Penny led the Berries to a 16-win season and continued Logansport’s impressive run of success in recent years. And the duo are the Pharos-Tribune’s 2018 Co-Loganland Players of the Year.

“I’m really proud of us this year,” Penny said. “People probably didn’t think we’d do what we did. I’m proud that we got 16 wins losing all the seniors we did from last year.

“I think we need to be better next year. It’s only up from there. We need to work harder and be better next year.”

Penny, a 6-foot-4 junior guard, averaged 21.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.

“I thought Will Penny had an outstanding season for us,” Logan coach Pat Skaggs said. “I really thought he improved a lot from last year. He obviously physically changed a lot in the last year. I still think he has a lot of room to do that in the future. This will be a big offseason for him. But he’s a natural scorer and has a good touch and has a knack of putting the ball in the basket. I think what helps him is I think he’s best when he’s driving to the basket but he’s also able to get in the lane and have some mid-range shots and yet he can also shoot the 3.”

Penny was the sixth man on last year’s 23-2 North Central Conference championship team. He had a much larger role this season and was asked to do a lot more and was able to deliver.

The same goes for Skaggs, who has started since he was a freshman. The 6-foot junior point guard averaged 19.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.6 steals per game this season. He shot 52 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the foul line. He was named to the Indiana Junior All-Star team.

“I thought Sam had an outstanding season for us as well,” Pat Skaggs said. “As a point guard your main job is to do everything you can to lead the team to win. And there were nights where an assist is every bit as important as a made shot, especially at that position. We probably saw him score more later in the year and it was just kind of from game to game what was necessarily dictated that he needed to do. I think his all-around game of his assists and steals and his leadership really was excellent for us.

“Obviously we’re going to have high expectations of those two guys this offseason and next year as well. We obviously need to have several of our returners improve as well, but Sam and Will are two die-hard basketball-first guys and I know that they’re already working to make themselves better which in turn will make our team better next winter.”

Both have older siblings who have excelled in the game of basketball and Penny and Skaggs are making a name for themselves. With both of them returning next season, the Berries could be one of the favorites in the NCC along with Marion. The Berries placed fourth this season behind McCutcheon, Lafayette Jeff and Marion.

“I know Marion has most of their guys coming back too,” Sam Skaggs said, “and I know most of the other schools are losing a lot. But those are still pretty big, good schools, so we’re still going to have to be ready every night.”

Skaggs and Penny have been playing basketball together for years now and have a good connection on the court. They are on the same AAU team this spring out of Lafayette.

“His game kind of goes with mine and mine kind of goes with his,” Skaggs said. “I kind of look to distribute a lot and he’s a good scorer and those two go hand in hand.

“He’s a good scorer. He’s good going to the basket, he can shoot it from deep. He’s athletic and long.”

Penny said of Skaggs: “He’s a great player, a team player. He’s probably the best shooter I’ve ever played with. It’s nice having him on the team.

“We have a connection.”

The Berries went 16-6 and posted their fourth straight season of at least 15 wins for the first time since 1958-61. They played their best basketball at the end of the season, winning their final six regular season games, four of which were in NCC play. They took a heavily favored Zionsville team to overtime in sectional play in a first-round game before the Eagles went on to win the sectional title.

Skaggs and Penny are now preparing for a big senior year in what should be another exciting season at the Berry Bowl.

“I’m really excited for next year, especially since I know that all our guys, we’re going to be working real hard this summer. I’m excited for it,” Skaggs said.

The following are capsules of the rest of the All-Loganland boys basketball team:

Kace Kitchel, Cass

Kitchel, a 6-8 senior, averaged 13.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game for a Kings squad that went 11-14 and won two sectional games to reach the sectional final.

“Kace was our go-to guy,” Cass coach Josh Burkett said. “Teams really keyed on him this season but he still led us in rebounding and was tough around the basket area. He was a matchup problem for teams. Not everybody has a 6-8 guy. So teams always brought two guys and he battled through that. We had an inexperienced team. Although we had six seniors, we were still pretty inexperienced scoring-wise. We had Easton [Good] help us and he ended up leading us in scoring, but that was because Kace was double teamed all the time.”

Calvin Larkin, Winamac

Larkin, a 6-1 guard, posted a big junior season in averaging 18.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He shot 34 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the foul line.

He led the Warriors to a 14-8 record and third-place finish in the HNAC behind LaVille and Knox.

“Calvin led us in scoring and was our second leading rebounder,” Winamac coach Alan Huggler said. “He’s a good defender, off the ball he has great anticipation and he had some big steals in key games for us. He hit key shots for us. I’m glad he’s coming back next year. He averaged 18.5 ppg.”

Trey Waddups, Pioneer

Waddups was the leader of a young and inexperienced Panthers squad his senior season. They were still able to post their fourth straight winning season as they finished with a 12-11 record.

When he entered high school the Panthers were coming off a 3-18 season. They went 57-38 (.600) during his four-year career.

Waddups, a 6-foot guard, posted his best season yet, averaging 22.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He shot 36 percent from 3-point range and scored 478 points.

He also became Pioneer’s all-time leading scorer as he finished his career with 1,213 points. He is just one of five Panthers ever to eclipse the 1,000-point mark.

Pioneer coach Austin Cowley said Waddups was a special player both on and off the court.

“He’s a player who I was humbled and privileged to coach and be able to go into the history books with him being our all-time leading scorer,” Cowley said. “He made a great impression on all the guys who will be returning about how much hard work it takes to be as good as he is. And at the same time he respects them as good young players with the work that they’re putting into it. As a fifth-year coach he was in the second class who had cycled through for me and I feel really good about the impact I got to make on him too.

“I feel good about what he thinks about Pioneer basketball and that he’s going to support us in the future. He’s going to go on to play baseball at Wabash College and he’s the first player I’ve coached who will play a college sport. I’ve recently moved into the same neighborhood where his parents live so he’ll be someone I’ll get to catch up with for a long time too. That’s a fun part of coaching that people don’t always get to see is the lifelong relationships you get to have with your players.”

Second team

Easton Good, Cass

Good, a 6-foot guard, led the Kings in scoring as a sophomore at 13.9 ppg. He added 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He scored 334 points on the season.

“I thought Easton was huge for us all season,” Burkett said. “It was a long, tough season for a sophomore and he had a very increased role this year. He had to take on a lot of scoring and I don’t think he had played an awful lot of varsity, not a ton. But he really stepped up. I know he goes 100 mph all the time and he may turn it over too much, but he’s able to bounce back and play hard the whole game on both ends of the court.”

Brandon Kinser, Caston

The 5-11 senior guard averaged 13.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game for the Comets. He shot 82.7 percent from the foul line.

While the Comets finished with a 4-19 record, they showed great improvement from the beginning of the season, particularly handling fullcourt pressure, and Kinser was a big part of that.

“He was really consistent all year long,” Caston coach Carl Davis said. “Obviously he faced a lot of junk defenses and a lot of defenses keyed on stopping him. He still found ways to score for us. The work he put in during the offseason and during the season, he put in the work and it paid off for him. He’s a great kid and a great teammate, extremely coachable and he’ll be extremely successful down the road too because of what he’ll bring to an organization, team and family.”

Will Larkin, Winamac

Will Larkin, a 5-11 sophomore guard who is Calvin Larkin’s younger brother, averaged 11.9 points, 1.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

He made 52 3-pointers on the season at a 39 percent clip. He also shot 85 percent from the foul line.

“Willy was our second leading scorer at 11.9 ppg,” Huggler said. “He’s a very good 3-point shooter and was also our leading free throw shooter percentage-wise. He shot 85 percent and I’d like to see him get to the line more next year. He’s a strong competitor and next year I expect to see even bigger things out of him. He can definitely shoot the 3 and if we get him to work on getting moves off the dribble he’d be really tough to guard.”

Tucker Platt, Logansport

The three-sport standout had a bigger role in basketball his junior season and the 6-2 forward stepped up and delivered as a strong all-around role player. He averaged 5.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

“Tucker is a big, strong kid that really understands the game of basketball and is fundamentally pretty good,” Pat Skaggs said. “But it’s kind of his court sense and court awareness along with his size and strength that is really a super asset for us. He really was a huge reason we were able to win 16 games this past season.”

Jakob Wireman, Pioneer

Wireman, a 5-11 junior, was a transfer from Danville who made a big impact for the Panthers once he became eligible.

He played in 17 of their 23 games and averaged 13.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He shot 44 percent from 3.

“Jakob Wireman was a very special case of how often does a transfer be your second leading scorer after transferring into a school like that,” Cowley said. “About the second or third week of the start of the season with our football team still going we were still in preseason mode. We had six to seven of our top 16 playing and all of a sudden he comes into practice in the preseason for us and he proved right away he had some touch and could shoot it and that he could be physical defensively playing man-to-man. Now we didn’t play man-to-man the whole year but he was able to slow down Trey a little bit and Trey was having his way against our young kids. So practice was encouraging but we didn’t know how long it would take to get his transfer papers through for him to be eligible.

“It was a roller coaster ride for him and his family. Everybody did the best they could for him in the first semester for him to become eligible. A lot of credit goes to him for being mentally tough enough to stick through it. He had doubts about coming to Pioneer coming from Danville. He was really close to a lot of people there and got a lot of support from people from there who came up to several games.

“He had to sit the first several games and his first game was against Faith Christian on Jan. 6. He scored 12 or 14 points and gave us a reliable scorer and reliable rebounder who at 6-foot has some good size to him, which we needed bad at that time. He became our second leading scorer and second leading rebounder and was instrumental in a lot of ways. In the first half of the season he had great attendance at practices and did a great job in a new environment and had fun at practice and it really helped us.

“He had some really good games in the first month. He hit six 3’s against Caston at their place and that was a battle. That was a close game in the third quarter and he hit a couple of big 3’s and without him we wouldn’t have built a big lead against them. Against Lewis Cass he shot really well. Against Maconaquah with the Purdue band there he shot 7 of 9 from 3. In the sectional game he had a quality game as well.”

Third team

Austin Brandt, Winamac

Brandt, a 6-1 junior, averaged 8.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.4 steals per game.

“He was our leading rebounder at about 6 per game,” Huggler said. “He was a workhorse inside. He’s an undersized post but physically is very strong. He shares the basketball very well and had a lot of assists throughout the year. He had a season high of 15 points against Pioneer. He does a lot of things that help us win that don’t always show up in the stat column. He does a great job helping on defense and helping on screens. He got a lot of deflections that led to fast-break points. He did a great job on both ends of the court.”

Elijah Crowe, Logansport

Crowe, a 6-1 guard, was the Berries’ starting quarterback in football and he also had a big senior season in basketball, averaging 6.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

“Elijah Crowe is an athletic kid who really enjoyed at times taking on a role of guarding the other team’s best player if we were in man-to-man,” Pat Skaggs said. “He did a nice job of accepting his role and playing his part. He did a lot of things for us. He played good defense, he rebounded for us and he also was a big part helping us win 16 games.

“You’ve got to have role players and he and Tucker Platt both really did a lot of positive things for us, Zach White, Jacob Cox and Eli Wickersham as well, those guys all really played a role for us and really enabled us to be a very competitive team.”

Brady Johnson, Cass

Johnson, a 6-3 senior, averaged 9.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game. He shot 57 percent from the field.

“Brady was our most consistent player all season long,” Burkett said. “Teams would double team he and Kace a lot inside. I didn’t know a lot about Brady. He was injured last season and didn’t play much as a sophomore, but he had a very increased role this year from the past. He’s a tough kid, boxes out, does everything a coach would want you to do. He’s great in the classroom. He had games where he scored just shy of 20. Teams would double team Kace and key on Easton and he would do what he had to do and was the next man up.”

Calahan Kindley, Pioneer

Kindley, a 5-11 junior, did a little bit of everything for the Panthers. He averaged 8.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

“Calahan Kindley was a kid who had no varsity experience coming in but had a pretty good summer last summer and by the end of the summer the coaching staff was really high on him,” Cowley said. “He’s a kid who went to the open gyms. He had a good football season and impressed everyone there. It took him a month of the season to get going in basketball but by January he was a full-time varsity player and he impressed us with his ability to play on both sides of the floor. He really took a lot of pride in the defensive end of the floor and he reminds me of his older brothers as he gets older and taller. He’s got a great attitude and is truly committed to basketball just as much as he is football and that makes you love the kid even more.

“We saw a lot of box-and-one and 1-3 chaser and diamond-and-one, and it was great to have a kid like Cal go to the middle of the zone and find the open players. We tried to give these guys confidence and they responded to the moment. He was one of those glue guys out there and things tended to work a lot better with him out there. He averaged 11 ppg in conference games and 8 throughout the season. He was a swiss-army guy — scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, deflections. I think he’ll only get better and better his senior year.”

Hunter Schanlaub, Caston

Schanlaub, a 6-5 sophomore, averaged 9.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He shot 59.7 percent from the field.

He was close to averaging a double-double for the season and picked up his scoring over the second half.

“His second half of the season he did a great job for us on both ends of the floor,” Davis said. “He’s a kid who’ll be in the gym more than anybody else in the offseason. He wants to get better and build off the second half of the season. I’m excited about his future and what he will bring and he’ll continue to put that work in on the court.”

2017-18 All-Loganland Boys Basketball

First team

Kace Kitchel, Cass

Calvin Larkin, Winamac

Will Penny, Logansport

Sam Skaggs, Logansport

Trey Waddups, Pioneer

Second team

Easton Good, Cass

Brandon Kinser, Caston

Will Larkin, Winamac

Tucker Platt, Logansport

Jakob Wireman, Pioneer

Third team

Austin Brandt, Winamac

Elijah Crowe, Logansport

Brady Johnson, Cass

Calahan Kindley, Pioneer

Hunter Schanlaub, Caston

Honorable mention: Cass — Jaret Humphrey, Casey Crozier; Caston — Luke Lowe; Logan — Jacob Cox, Zach White; Pioneer — Damon McGuire, Haden Krintz; Winamac — Sam Griffeth, Wilson Smith.

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