TOPEKA — Jamar Weaver hopes to feel as home in Huntington this weekend as he plans to feel in Huntington over the next four years.
And strictly if recent outings are any indication, Weaver will indeed be comfortable when he and the Westview Warriors (22-4) take on Cass (22-2) in the 4 p.m. Class 2A boys basketball northern semistate Saturday, March 22, at Huntington North High School.
The Warriors hope he'll be as comfortable as he is, say, on a tennis court, or on a diamond, or in a barn.
Westview's senior 3-point shooting ace is also a standout tennis and baseball player — the shortstop/pitcher has signed to play baseball, his favorite sport, at Huntington University — while his best-known hoop skill is one that he first developed during many hours inside his grandfather's barn.
"My dad, I remember (starting around) fourth grade, him always taking me over to my grandpa's," Weaver said this week, "and we would go in the barn and keep shooting, do drills, shoot 100 free throws at a time. My dad loved basketball as a kid, too, and I was kind of right into it as soon as I was born."
Weaver's father, Mervin, did not play high school basketball — "He grew up Amish," Jamar explained — but has proven himself in Westview's gym anyway.
"He comes in Friday mornings and plays with some of the teachers," the younger Weaver said, "and they're always telling me, 'Man, he was lights out this morning.'"
The son has been lights out lately. Starting with his career-high 26 points in the Warriors' regular-season finale, an overtime win over Concord, the 5-foot-11 Weaver has hit 16 of his last 31 shots outside the arc.
He's averaging 14.0 points over his last six games and 11.2 during postseason to stand at 9.5 overall.
For the season, Weaver is at 57.4 percent on 2-pointers, a team-leading 80.4 at the line and a team-leading 43.3 percent (45-of-104) outside the arc.
"I can't believe there are too many guys anywhere shooting much better than he is right now," Westview coach Rob Yoder said this week. "He's feeling it, and he wants the shot, so that's a good thing."
The Warriors' season started, if you will, with a Tried and True Two in Jordyn Bontrager and Chandler Aspy. The return of Judah Zickafoose after a year away to focus on baseball sort of made it a Big Three, but with Weaver's emergence, it's now an enviable Core Four.
"I just think our whole team is in rhythm finally," Yoder said. "A number of our guys could score more, but they're playing together, and it's just been since mid-January that we got our last few guys (a trio of reserves missed games for assorted reasons), so now we're kind of all getting our rhythm."
"In practice we all go hard, we're all going 100 percent," Weaver said, "because we're trying to make each other better."
Though he wouldn't mind topping it in Huntington, Weaver calls last Saturday's North Judson Regional the most memorable day of his basketball career so far.
"I still can't believe we pulled that out," Weaver said. "We were down 12 with about six minutes left (in regulation of a 75-64 double-overtime semifinal win over Hammond Noll), but we stuck together and gutted it out, and then (in the final, a 69-53 win over Winamac) we get behind 8-0, but I think right then is when we all looked at each other like, 'Let's go, we gotta finish the job.'"