RIPON – Ripon’s Luke Loewe has a lot of traits that make him a scary basketball player. But what’s the one thing that makes him the scariest?
The fact that he’s only a sophomore.
Loewe led the Tigers to a 21-4 season before falling to Poynette in the Division 3 sectional semifinal game. The sophomore had a superb season — averaging 18.6 points, 3.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds — and for that, he was named Oshkosh Northwestern Media’s Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“I’m very grateful, it’s an honor of being named player of the year,” Loewe said. “But it’s a team accomplishment because a lot of the guys on our team worked hard this year and we came every day and worked our butts off every day just to compete.”
Joining Loewe on the first-team includes Oshkosh North’s Philip Flory and Blake Marquardt and Oshkosh West’s Jake Guenther and Blake Johnson. Flory and Marquardt led the Spartans in scoring, as Flory finished the season at 14.9 points per game and Marquardt was at 14.3. Guenther led the Wildcats in scoring (16.5) and rebounds (7.2) while Johnson was second in scoring at 11.8 points per game.
Members of the all-area second-team includes Lourdes’ Evan Ganther and Adam Trofka, Omro’s Travis Pomplun, Ripon’s Ben Vander Plas and Oshkosh North’s Seth Taylor.
For most of the season, Loewe and the Tigers were the top-ranked team in Division 3. Along with sophomore teammate Ben Vander Plas, Ripon was nearly unstoppable and a trip to the state tournament seemed likely.
But then Ripon took a step back.
Vander Plas went down late in the season with a season-ending injury, and the Tigers clearly weren’t the same team after that. Loewe did the best he could to try to lift the team on his back, scoring 23 points a game in Vander Plas’ absence, but caught a very good Poynette team in the sectional semifinals.
“We had a lot of ups and downs and I thought we battled through the season,” Loewe said. “At the end we had to come through a lot of adversity with Ben going down. I think in the end, we had to come together as a team and do all of the little things to fix what we had to do.”
Luckily for him, there is always next year. And the year after that.
Ripon returns a lot of youth as five of the top six scorers from this season are only sophomores.
“To have this year end how it did, there is a sour taste in our mouth,” Loewe said. “People say we are only sophomores but it’s another year gone by. We have to take advantage of what we have left.”
As for Loewe, he said now he’s going to continue to work on his game. Already making a big jump from his freshman to sophomore year, he said he needs to work on his body so he can be more physical.
“I just have to work on my body and become more physical because in the future, just like we did in the past couple games, we will see different defenses that we’ll have to adjust to,” Loewe said.
The sophomore already has a Division 1 offer at IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University), but also has interest at a number of quality D1 programs.
Alex Wolf: (920) 426-6661 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2014-15 Oshkosh Northwestern Media All-Area Boys Basketball Team
Luke Loewe Soph. Ripon
Philip Flory Soph. Oshkosh North
Blake Marquardt Sr. Oshkosh North
Jake Guenther Sr. Oshkosh West
Blake Johnson Jr. Oshkosh West
Seth Taylor Sr. Oshkosh North
Ben Vander Plas Soph. Ripon
Evan Ganther Soph. Lourdes
Travis Pomplun Jr. Omro
Adam Trofka Sr. Lourdes
Honorable mention: Berlin: Erich Mueller, Sr.; Brady Polk, Soph. Lourdes: Brady Schneider, Sr. Oshkosh North: Nick Bauer, Sr. Omro: Sam Berger, Sr. Ripon: Riley Haas, Sr.; Eddie Muench, Soph. Valley Christian: Wesley Schiek, Fr. Winneconne: Jack Gereau, Sr.; Jake Ellis, Jr.