A tour-de-force foursome of point guards — Jordan Geist of Penn, Devin Cannady of Marian, Jordyn Bontrager of Westview and Ramon Johnson of Concord — is included among seven individuals named Friday, April 11, to our 38th annual All-Area first team.
Each of those four, besides being a top-tier ball-handler and able distributor, was a potent scorer this season, averaging from 17.0 to Cannady's 21.9 points per game to finish near the top of the area leaders.
They're joined on our first team by overall top vote-getter and third-time first-teamer Nate Ritchie of Northridge, plus NorthWood's dynamic duo of Zach Zurcher and Jonathan Wilkinson.
Elkhart Truth All-Area
• Nate Ritchie, 6-7 Northridge sr.
• Jordan Geist, 6-1 Penn jr.
• Zach Zurcher, 6-5 NorthWood sr.
• Devin Cannady, 6-3 Marian jr.
• Jonathan Wilkinson, 6-5 NorthWood sr.
• Jordyn Bontrager, 5-10 Westview sr.
• Ramon Johnson, 5-9 Concord sr.
• Filip Serwatka, 6-6 Concord jr.
• Ryan Kupferschmid, 6-2 ECA sr.
• Chandler Aspy, 6-3 Westview jr.
• Dimitri Giger, 6-4 Elkhart Memorial jr.
• Brady Bechtel, 5-10 Goshen so.
• Cory Waycaster, 6-4 ECA sr.
• Joe Line, 6-2 Fairfield jr.
• Billy Doslak, 6-0 Penn jr.
• Will Stueve, 6-5 NorthWood sr.
• Pete Smith, 5-11 Northridge jr.
A review of the first 37 All-Area first teams suggests there had never been a year in which four true point guards, or even four part-time point guards, were selected, and there were just a couple times that as many as three such players were selected.
Per tradition, Indiana area head coaches again played the lead in selecting The Truth's All-Area team. Ballots from 13 of those 14 coaches were combined with five staffer ballots. The remaining area coach listed players, but did not place those players in an order.
The 6-foot-7 Ritchie — the area scoring champion at 24.0 points per game and No. 2 rebounder at 7.6 — was chosen as the area's premier player on 11 of the 18 counted ballots. The senior becomes just the ninth player to be named a first-teamer at least three times and finishes as the No. 8 scorer in Elkhart County history with 1,388 points.
Geist — recently chosen an Indiana Junior All-Star Core Six selection — collected five top-player votes. Cannady, also a junior, secured the remaining two top-player votes.
Geist, who paced Penn to the best record in program history at 23-2 and to the championship round of a Class 4A regional, shaded Zurcher, 315-314, for runner-up honors on the overall voting points tally.
Zurcher and fellow senior forward Wilkinson, fifth in the voting, led NorthWood to the program's best record ever at 21-3 and to a Class 3A sectional title.
They averaged a combined 37 points, finished their Panther careers just one point apart — Zurcher at 1,093 and Wilkinson at 1,092 — and became the first-ever area teammates to reach the 1,000-point milestone in the same game. They're also the first NorthWood teammates on the first team since 1982.
Cannady, fourth overall in the voting, steered surging Marian (14-9) to a 10-3 record over its final 13 games, including a 53-51 loss to Penn and an overtime 3A sectional championship loss to South Bend St. Joseph. With a season to go, Cannady (1,004) is already over 1,000 career points.
Bontrager directed Westview (23-5) to Class 2A state runner-up honors, while fellow senior Johnson was instrumental in Concord (15-9) capturing the 4A Elkhart Sectional title with a run that included knocking off favored Northridge (18-3).
Johnson was an honorable mention pick a year ago, while Bontrager, Cannady, Geist, Wilkinson and Zurcher were all second-teamers.
Get accustomed to the names on our 10-player All-Area second team.
Seven of those players are underclassmen, including sophomore point guard Brady Bechtel of Goshen.
Concord junior Filip Serwatka comfortably led the group in voting points.
The unit also features Elkhart Christian senior teammates Ryan Kupferschmid and Cory Waycaster, who each went over 1,000 career points and led the Eagles (17-5) to the best record in their 10-year IHSAA history.
Kupferschmid finishes as the school's all-time career scoring leader (1,224), while Waycaster averaged 17.8 points this season and paced the area in 2-point field goal percentage at a gaudy 69.6.
Juniors Chandler Aspy of Westview, Dimitri Giger of Elkhart Memorial, Joe Line of Fairfield, Billy Doslak of Penn and Pete Smith of Northridge are each second-team selections as well, joined by senior Will Stueve of NorthWood.
Top 25 Vote Getters
(No. 1 votes in parentheses)
Nate Ritchie (11) 346, Jordan Geist (5) 315, Zach Zurcher 314, Devin Cannady (2) 281, Jonathan Wilkinson 279, Jordyn Bontrager 270, Ramon Johnson 256, Filip Serwatka 226, Ryan Kupferschmid 190 Chandler Aspy 157, Dimitri Giger 156, Brady Bechtel 152, Cory Waycaster 123, Joe Line 121, Billy Doslak 118, Will Stueve 111, Pete Smith 103, Deric Haynes 47, Cameron Maxwell 46, Austin Woolett 42, Treyton Harris 35, Nick Harris 30, Alex Clark 29, Kenny Bearss 27, Taylor Brooks 25.
About The Voting
Ballots were distributed to all 14 IHSAA area head coaches. Five Truth staffer ballots were also distributed. Voters were asked to rate their top 20 players in order. All ballots were returned. One coach selected a group of players, but did not rate them. Points were assigned baed on ratings. Voters had the option of excluding teams they did not see. In such instances, players' points from all other votes were averaged to assign a value.
(Senior Unless Noted)
Bethany Christian — Sol Brenneman (jr.), Abe Thorne.
Concord — Brett Austin (jr.), Adam Glanders.
Elkhart Central — Treyton Harris (jr.), Tre Taylor.
Elkhart Christian — Kenny Bearss.
Elkhart Memorial — Cameron Maxwell (jr.).
Goshen — Deric Haynes, Austin Woolett (jr.).
Jimtown — Adam DeShone (so.), Nick Floyd (jr.).
Marian — Nick Harris (jr.).
Northridge — Sam Ahonen, Tom Morrison (jr.).
NorthWood — Braxton Linville (so.).
Penn — Taylor Brooks, Ryan Lutz (jr.), Christian Wittendorf.
Wawasee — Alex Clark (jr.), Gage Reinhard (jr.).
Westview — Jamar Weaver, Judah Zickafoose.