IndyStar is recognizing the Indiana high school athletes of the week presented by Defenders. Top Hoosier athletes are nominated by their athletic directors and coaches. For more information about our Indiana Sports Awards, contact Matthew VanTryon at firstname.lastname@example.org or Matthew Glenesk at email@example.com. These athletes were chosen for the week ending March 3.
Keegan Fetters, Lakewood Park Christian
The second-best thing that has happened to Lakewood Park this season was its best player missing its biggest game. Their best player, Keegan Fetters, picked a technical foul and got ejected from a game late in the season, missing the team’s first sectional game. It lit a fire under him. His team survived. Now, his coach says he’s playing like one of the best guards in the state.
That coach, former Indiana player Rod Wilmont, is the best thing that happened to Lakewood Park this season. Best thing that happened to Fetters, too. The program won just six games last year and eight the year before that. This year, they’ve won 17 games and clinched the program’s first sectional title.
“He’s changed everything,” Fetters said of Wilmont, who played for the Hoosiers from 2003-2007. “Practices, games and how we prepare for them. We knew we were good, but we needed someone to help lead us there. Someone like Rod who could teach us what we needed to do.”
Wilmont is talking about how Fetters plays, and what he says doesn’t sound like a compliment. But really, it is.
“I’m always pushing him to do more. As a coach, I feel like he could’ve given so much more,” he said. Then when I look at the stat sheet, he’s got 29, 8 and 9. He’s just a stat stuffer.”
Translation? Fetters makes the game look easy. He’s averaging 21.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.3 blocks. Leads the team in every single category.
Teams try to stop him. If they could, they might be able to stop the Panthers, since no one else on the team averages more than 7.9 points per game. But no one can seem to figure him out. He’s scored double-figures in 22 of his 3 games.
“It’s easier said than done to stop someone that has the ball in his hands a lot,” Wilmont said. “There are so many possessions where he’ll have the ball. Good players are going to score. It’s whether or not you can contain him.”
The best way to contain him? Don’t let him see the floor. That’s what happened in the team’s sectional opener. During the team’s practices leading up to the game, Wilmont didn’t mention Fetters. It was simply “next man up.” The Panthers hung on for a 59-51 win over Bethany Christian.
Fetters sat and watched and worried. And once the win was secured, he knew he wouldn’t be the same player for the rest of the season, however long that was.
“I put in a lot more emotion,” he said. “It’s the extra boost of having to sit out and almost seeing the season end on the bench. I’m a lot more focused and motivated.”
In the sectional semifinal, Fetters scored 25 points, had eight rebounds, six assists and nine steals. In the sectional championship, he scored 31, had eight rebounds, five assists and five steals.
He knocked down the game-winning shot with three seconds to play. No long after the ball fell through the net, the Panthers were sectional champions for the first time.
“The way he played in the sectional championship, he played like he knew he was one of the best players in the state,” Wilmont said. “His skill level is so good that sometimes I think he lays back and turns it on. When he stays on, he’s one of the best guards in the state.”