WARSAW – The 2018-19 boys basketball season is rapidly coming to a close, and as usual, the cream is rising to the top.
Our IFN Boys Basketball All-Area Teams have a similar quality to that of the girls, a list full of unselfish players who make their teams better in multiple ways. Only two players, our Player of the Year in Warsaw’s Nolan Groninger, and Tippecanoe Valley’s Tanner Trippiedi, return to the list, Groninger earning our top honor for the second straight season. Four of the players weren’t even regular starters on their respective teams a season ago.
Without further ado, let’s dig into our selections for the 2018-19 IFN Boys Basketball All-Area Teams.
IFN First Team
Nolan Groninger, Warsaw — For a second straight season, Warsaw’s Nolan Groninger lands at the top of our boys basketball list. Groninger is the fifth straight recipient of IFN’s Player of the Year honor to wear the orange and black, following two-time selection Kyle Mangas as the second straight Tiger to earn the accolade in back-to-back years. Since stepping onto the area scene as a junior last season, Groninger has continued to lead Warsaw from the point, pacing the team in points per game as well as assists and steals during a fifth straight NLC championship run by the Tigers.
Parkur Dalrymple, Tippecanoe Valley — Tippecanoe Valley’s seniors have grown up faster than even their coach expected this season, and none has grown up more than Parkur Dalrymple. The 5’11 guard has doubled his points production from last season to lead the team with 12 points per game this year. In the meantime, he’s more than tripled his assist numbers, with 37 so far this year for an average of 1.9 dimes a game, including a season-high six during a 76-57 win over Northfield back in January. Not only has Dalrymple become a consistent scorer, but he’s been efficient in the role, too, converting 80-of-197 (41 percent) of his attempts from the floor and a full 45-of-51 (88 percent) from the foul line. Coach Chad Patrick was considering a younger lineup for his Vikings at the start of the season but with upperclassmen like Dalrymple on the roster, he’s gone to a more senior-heavy lineup, and the result has been a 13-9 campaign headed into sectionals — a full eight wins better than last year’s total.
Jake Harmon, Lakeland Christian Academy — If you have keys to a time machine, you may not recognize the Jake Harmon of 2016 versus the Jake Harmon of 2019. Nearly a foot taller a couple cheeseburgers heavier than his freshman silhouette, Harmon continued to just get better on the basketball court. That elevation has Harmon leaving LCA as one of its top historical scorers. Harmon really made his niche with LCA as a three-point shooter, recently breaking the records for threes in a season (84) and in a career (219), each time taking down 2018 graduate Josh McDaniel’s marks. Harmon, also the career leader in games played (96), is approaching 1,000 career points (967 entering the sectional). Against North Miami, Harmon hit a school-record eight threes and scored a career-high 34 points, and also drilled six three-pointers on three occasions this season. Scoring 17.0 points per game, he also averages over five rebounds, three assists and two steals per contest.
Trevor Rumple, Warsaw — Trevor Rumple has provided Warsaw’s team with an X factor this season. Since moving into the Tigers’ lineup from an injury for the Northern Lakes Conference-opener with Wawasee back in mid-December, he’s just gotten better and better, an 18-point outing against Whitko the following week providing a glimpse of just how good the 6-foot senior could be. He replicated that feat during another NLC win over Northridge in Warsaw’s first game of the new year and has gone on to become the team’s second-leading scorer behind Nolan Groninger, with 8.8 points a game among a Tigers crew that shares the ball well. He doesn’t waste many of his opportunities, either, collecting a 48 percent (46-of-96) shooting percentage from the field. Rumple, the only non-starter on this list, signed to play at the next level at Olivet Nazarene University.
Ben Vincent, NorthWood — Riding the wave of a very fruitful tennis season last fall, Ben Vincent just kept on swinging. His aim with the basketball in his hands helped him become one of the better shooters in the area, and the featured piece of NorthWood’s revamped attack. Just a sophomore playing his first year as a starter for the Panthers, Vincent quickly became the team’s leading scorer at 12.0 points per game, but has the penchant for scoring in big games. His 20 points against Tippecanoe Valley and 17 against Elkhart Central have the Panthers amidst a three-game win streak heading into the sectional. Vincent scored 20 points in a big home win over South Bend Clay and notched 21 points against Goshen as NorthWood celebrated its 50th anniversary of boys basketball. Vincent is hitting 40 percent (53-133) of his three-pointers this season.
IFN Second Team
Wyatt Amiss, Warsaw — Wyatt Amiss? More like Wyatt Can’t Miss. The 5’11 junior has emerged as Warsaw’s best sharpshooter, scoring at a 45 percent clip from beyond the arc on 77 attempts from deep this season. Amiss is averaging 7.1 points per game with seven of his 20 games played in double figures. He gives his team a steady option from distance having converted 35 of the Tigers’ 103 made 3-pointers this season. He’s happy to share the ball, too, dishing out 1.8 assists a night. And he doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes in the backcourt, either, with a 1.46 assist-to-turnover ratio, the only real anomaly five TOs during a 22-turnover night by Warsaw against Elkhart Central on Jan. 26.
Bennett Hoffert, Wawasee — For a while, Ben Hoffert could have been nicknamed Mr. Big Shot for the Warriors. Hoffert got into quite a rhythm during swings this season for Wawasee and established himself not only as a shooter, but a valuable spark for a Wawasee team without a go-to lock scorer. Hoffert had himself a night against Whitko, at one point unable to miss in hitting four three-pointers in a row to help the Warriors to its first win. Hoffert had 17 points against Hanover Central in the Wawasee Invite championship, and for the season, has hit 39 percent of his three-point field goals and is an 89 percent free throw shooter. Hoffert is also second on the team in assists and steals.
Austin Miller, Wawasee — Austin Miller wants the ball in crunch time. Just ask him. Miller hit some big shots for Wawasee this season, paired with Hoffert as quite a scoring duo for the Warriors. Once just a spot-up shooter for the Warriors, Miller not only can stroke it from behind the arc, but developed a dribble-drive game as well. Miller hit three big three-pointers to lift Wawasee to its first win of the season over Whitko, and had a combined 38 points on back-to-back nights against Concord and Lakeland. The junior guard leads the Warriors at 12.0 points per game, is second on the club in rebounding, pulling in over three a night, and leads the team with 51 steals.
Tanner Trippiedi, Tippecanoe Valley — While Valley’s seniors have grabbed many of the team headlines, one of the team’s steadiest, most reliable ballers has been junior point guard Tanner Trippiedi. Trippiedi is leading his team both in steals per game with 1.4 and in assists with 2.5 an outing, earned at a solid, 55-to-38 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s also putting up nearly 11 points a night as the team’s second-leading scorer behind Parkur Dalrymple while manning the point. And the athletic one guard has been a workhorse for the team, too, averaging more than 28 minutes of playing time in each of the Vikings’ 22 games so far.
Landon Twombly, Lakeland Christian Academy — Everyone wants to feel like they are all hustle, all the time on the basketball court. A claim could be made that Landon Twombly could have a concept shirt made about his game if LCA wanted to have a swagg night for homecoming next year. Twombly embodied the idea of playing all 94 feet of the basketball court, reading like a fantasy statline to that of a Draymond Green or a Kawhi Leonard. Not only did Twombly average 12.7 points per game, he also hit 25 three-pointers, assisted on 110 baskets, grabbed 100 rebounds, had 45 steals in 23 games. His combined 39 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and six steals helped LCA to its first two wins in program history over Bethany Christian. Twombly also cracked 20 points on five occasions, 24 points in a close loss to Hamilton.
IFN Honorable Mention
Nick Bean, NorthWood; Trent Edwards, NorthWood; Aaron Evans, Wawasee; Beau Hepler, Triton; Braxton Keller, Lakeland Christian Academy; Wes Melanson, Tippecanoe Valley; Tyler Metzinger, Warsaw; Ashton Oviedo, Triton; Cam Parker, Tippecanoe Valley; Jaylen Reese, Warsaw