Jr. Blujay boys return after break on a 7-1 season
BELOIT – The Saint John’s/Tipton middle school boys’ basketball team headed into their Christmas break boasting a 7-1 record. After dropping their first game of the season to a tough Ellsworth team, the boys have put together a 7-game win streak. Eighth grade starters Daniel Eilert and Jacob Winkler have played solid in all 8 games this year and have pushed their teammates to their maximum potential. Eilert is averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds per game, including a dominating end of the year performance against Southern Cloud dropping 21 points and recording 20 rebounds. Winkler has been dropping a smooth 7 points per game continuing his great shooting from last year at over 40 percent from the field. Another 8th grader, Chance Jermark, has been the BluJays’ spark plug 6th man this year coming off the bench with great leadership and energy.
Seventh grade starters Tyson Gates and Nicolas Niewald have both excelled this season in many areas. Niewald is an excellent ballhandler and a menace on the BluJay’s aggressive defense. He is averaging 4 points per game and heads up the BluJays’ full court press. Nicholas is also a long-range threat, shooting almost 30% from behind the arc this year. Gates’s constant effort and “all out” mentality has made him a stable force in the BluJays’ defense. Tyson is averaging 5 rebounds and 3 steals per game while also bringing his quarterback skills from football, dishing out a team-leading 3.5 assists per game.
Sixth grader Edward Horinek rounds out the starting five this year. After attending all the practices last year with his dad, Coach Horinek, Edward was hungry to get started this year. While sharing the point guard duties with Niewald, Edward is averaging 10 points and 3 steals per game. Edward brings the BluJays a legitimate threat from downtown, dropping 15 for 27 3-pointers this year for a 55 percent shooting average.
The BluJay’s are averaging 47 points per game this season, while keeping opponents at 25 points per game. After Christmas break, the BluJays will have 4 regular season games before they start their league tournament.
“These boys work incredibly hard every single practice," said Coach Horinek. "We continued our motto from last season of ‘Striving for Excellence’ in all things, all the time, and this team has lived up to those expectations.They have some tough games coming up after break, and he is excited to see how the team performs."
The Jr. Jays will now face Lincoln at home on Monday, Jan. 13. They will travel to Osborne on Thursday.