JIMTOWN — Can it be that the 10th anniversary of Jimtown capturing the only IHSAA boys basketball state title in Elkhart County history will be upon us next March?
Yes, but more to the point of the moment, can it be that when those Jimmies won that state title, the majority of the current roster was merely in kindergarten?
Yes as well.
As coach Ron Dietz begins his second season in charge, Jimtown features six sophomores and a freshman among its 11 listed varsity players.
“It’s not so much a rebuilding year as much as it’s cementing the foundation that we’ve tried to put in place,” Dietz says. “For (lone current senior Chase Hoeflinger and the juniors), I was their third coach in three years last year, so we just tried to steady the ship, and at the same time make some progress with our wins and develop some younger kids. And I think we were able to accomplish each of those things.”
Jimtown finished 7-14 last March, its fifth consecutive non-winning mark, but that was a solid bump up from the previous winter’s 4-17.
While the top two scorers and top three rebounders from last season have graduated, Hoeflinger flirted with the team lead in points, finishing at 8.0 per game, and was tops in assists and steals.
Further, Nick Floyd, now a junior, and Adam DeShone, now a sophomore, were quickly thrust into prominent roles a year ago. Fellow returnees Trevor Hobbs and Dylan Guldager also saw some varsity action as freshmen, though Guldager is out for the time being as he recovers from a football injury.
“With the leadership of our older kids and with so many younger kids contributing,” Dietz says, “I think the future looks good.”
The Jimmies, who begin their third season in Class 3A, will host a sectional for the first time since 2009.
They open the regular season Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Howe, and play their home opener Friday, Dec. 6, against Clinton Christian.
Q&A WITH COACH RON DIETZ
Q: Who are the contenders to start and what do they bring to the mix?
A: “We have a great group of upperclassmen with Chase Hoeflinger, our only senior, and three juniors, and they should all help us. Chase does so many things on the floor and will really help teach the younger kids how to play, and then Nick Floyd is a very good shooter who played a lot as a sophomore. We have Austin Secor, who’s a defensive specialist, and Kain Templeton, who’s an all-purpose player. And then Adam DeShone, Dylan Guldager and Trevor Hobbs are three sophomores we’ve tried to develop, three kids who are very important to this program and three kids who can become pretty good players. What we have to realize is these kids will still be young, but that’s where we depend on our four upperclassmen to lead the way, and we do hope that the experience those sophomores have helps push them forward.”
Q: What are some of the things you have put in place or are trying to put in place as you transition to your second year?
A: “One aspect is I’ve really tried to put together a good coaching staff. Ryan Gingerich, who has the been the JV coach at Jimtown for a long time, is now my varsity assistant. He just does a great job teaching the game. And we still have Alan (Grzeskowiak) and Joel Sienicki, so we are familiar with each other, and then we’ve added Scott Hamstra as the JV coach. He was varsity assistant at Kankakee Valley last year, and then we have a former Jimtown player, Bodie Bender, as a volunteer. One thing Coach Gingerich is really trying to do is bring back that Jimtown mentality. He put a lot of time in during the summer working with the kids on fundamentals, defensive and offensive scheme, while at the same trying to get that Jimtown blue-collar back in us. We need that back in us, especially with the level (Class 3A) we’re at now.”
Q: What’s it mean to be hosting a sectional this year, and having Plymouth (now in 4A) out of it?
A: “(Hosting’s) real good for us, and we’re hoping to hang our hat on it a little bit. With this group of young kids, we can point toward that, to the fact we’re going to play here, so let’s defend it here, let’s rise to the occasion. It’s a positive thing. Last year, it wasn’t so much just that Plymouth was in it, but it was also on Plymouth’s floor. Now we have it. If that doesn’t get our kids excited and wanting to win, I’m not sure what else you can do.”
No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.
2 Dylan Guldager G 6-1 So.
3 Adam DeShone G 5-11 So.
4 Trevor Hobbs F 6-4 So.
5 Chase Hoeflinger G 6-1 Sr.
10 Danny Garner G 5-8 So.
14 Austin Secor F 6-0 Jr.
22 Nick Floyd G 6-2 Jr.
24 Jake Vicsik G 5-10 So.
32 Sam Pawlak F 6-3 Fr.
34 Kain Templeton F 6-2 Jr.
40 Blane Bender F 6-3 So.
Coach: Ron Dietz (184-208 in 18 seasons overall; 7-14 in one season at Jimtown; 44-86 in six seasons at Marian; 49-60 in five seasons at Concord; 84-48 in six seasons at FW Dwenger).
Assistants: Ryan Gingerich, Bodie Bender, Alan Grzeskowiak, Scott Hamstra.
3 — at Howe. 6 — Clinton Christian. 10 — Northridge. 14 — at Argos. 17 — at NorthWood. 20 — Culver (c). 28 — at Central Noble.
10 — at Knox (c). 15 — Marian. 17 — New Prairie (c). 25 — at Westview. 31 — at Triton (c). February
1 — at Elkhart Central. 4 — Elkhart Christian. 7 — Bremen (c). 14 — at Glenn (c). 18 — Bethany Christian. 21 — Concord. 25 — at Fairfield. 28 — LaVille (c).
(c) — Denotes Northern State Conference games.
JIMTOWN RETURNING LEADERS
Points: Chase Hoeflinger 8.0, Nick Floyd 5.6, Adam DeShone 3.5.
Rebounds: Hoeflinger 2.1, Floyd 2.1.
Assists: Hoeflinger 1.8*, DeShone 1.1.
Steals: Hoeflinger 1.7*, Floyd 0.5.
* — Denotes also led last season’s team overall.