By Jennifer Eisenbart
Most people would’ve forgiven Carson Biedrzycki if he’d been a little off his basketball game at the start of the season.
After all, the Burlington High School senior had helped lead BHS to the WIAA boys volleyball championship game, and was an All-State honorable mention as a middle hitter.
And yet, Biedrzycki made the transition into basketball like he’d never been away. In the Demons’ season-opening 79-61 win over Kenosha Bradford, the senior poured in 33 points.
After leading the area in scoring with a number of dominating performances, Biedrzycki is the 2013 All-Area Player of the Year.
BHS finished the season 18-6, winning the Southern Lakes Conference crown for the third year in a row.
A large part of that was Biedrzycki, who spent most of the offseason working specifically on basketball.
“I felt confident that I’d be all right, and ready,” the senior said. “Most of my workouts in spring and summer were basically made for basketball.
“I also knew from doing that, I’d get benefits for volleyball,” he added. “But mainly, what I was doing it for was basketball.”
So, his performance in the season opener not only spurred his own confidence – but made him think the Demons could be just as good.
“I thought it was definitely a good start to the season,” he said. “I thought we played really well.
“I thought at that point, we could have something special this year, that’s for sure.”
BHS head coach Steve Berezowitz said the two-year starter did just about everything on the court for his team – and that was more than just scoring points.
“His athleticism allowed us to defend opponents in different ways, and conversely, often created a matchup problem on the offensive end,” said the coach. “Carson has worked tirelessly to get where he is at. He is a great competitor and a true example of what hard work and dedication can produce.”
The postseason awards are already coming in for the senior. He was named to the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-State team as an honorable mention (the coaches do just one team), and is in contention for All-SLC and All-County Player of the Year honors as well.
Biedrzycki hasn’t decided on his post-high school plans yet. He’s narrowed the field to schools like St. Norbert or the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, but he is also looking over some Division II possibilities.
He hopes to be a pre-med major.
“I have to make sure that they have what I want, and it’s good,” he said.
The rest of the 2013 All-Area boys basketball team:
Chris Benavides, sr., Waterford Union High School: If there was anyone asked to do everything for a team this year, it was Benavides. With injuries causing a fair share of issues with the Wolverines, Benavides played an average of 24 minutes a game, playing every position at some point in the season.
“A big part of our season, we were without our point guard, and he became it and did it very well,” said Waterford coach Mickey Mala. “The crazy part is that Chris was playing hurt all year long with a bum shoulder and sprained ankle.”
Benavides averaged 12.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game – tops on the team for those playing the complete season – but had his best game of the season in a 62-60 loss to BHS in the second run through the Southern Lakes.
“(It) was probably one of the most dominating offensive performances I’ve seen from a Waterford player during my time,” Mala said.
Ty Dennis, sr., Burlington High School: With five seniors in the starting lineup for BHS, it seemed everyone had their role.
For Dennis, it was as the team’s leading rebounder with 6.1 per game. He also averaged eight points per game.
“Ty was very valuable to us the past few years because his athletic ability gave us some flexibility to play numerous positions,” said Berezowitz. “Ty’s ability to rebound and defend took the pressure off us defensively throughout the year.”
Tanner Hunsucker, sr., Waterford Union High School: Perhaps the biggest question of the year in boys basketball is what Waterford could have done if Hunsucker had stayed healthy.
Averaging 16.9 points per game, Hunsucker missed time due to a sprained knee, then a broken toe – and then the same sprained knee ended his season early.
He participated in 15 of the 23 games, but finished second on the team with 253 total points. He also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game and 1.5 assists.
“When he did play, we were a completely different team,” said Mala. “He was able to stretch defenses with his 3-point shooting and had a knack of contorting his way to the rim and often getting to the foul line.”
Jake Reetz, sr., Burlington High School: After an injury-prone junior season, Reetz stepped in as BHS’s point guard and never looked back.
In addition to being second on the team with 24 3-pointers, he led the team in assists with 72, 3.1 per game.
“Jake was able to take over our point guard position this year with confidence,” Berezowitz said. “He is a great floor leader who never gave anything but his best effort.”
Jayden Essman, sr., Burlington High School: While a lot of what Essman did for the Demons didn’t necessarily show up in the stats, the senior still had a lot of stats to show for the year.
While Essman averaged just two points per game, he had 4.7 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists per game and a steal per game.
“Jayden is a very unselfish player who did all the little things to make us better,” Berezowitz said.
Ben Geiger, jr., Burlington High School: In spite of missing five games because of illness, Geiger was still the second-leading scorer for BHS, averaging 9.1 points per game. He also hit 34 3-pointers on the season.
“Ben is one of the best shooters I have had the privilege of coaching,” said Berezowitz. “We brought Ben off the bench this season, which allowed us some offensive advantages at times.”
Andrew Kazikowski, jr., Union Grove Union High School: The team MVP for the Broncos, Kazikowski averaged 12.4 points per game – Union Grove’s most consistent offensive threat.
“Andrew improved his all-around game this year, becoming a weapon on both ends of the floor,” said Union Grove coach David Pettit. “When we needed a basket, Andrew was the kid we were going to.
“Andrew also makes his teammates better by setting them up for shots and dishing out some sweet assists,” the coach added.
Tegan Miles, jr., Catholic Central High School: While Miles wasn’t the leading scorer for the Hilltoppers, he was probably the team’s best overall player.
“Tegan gave us a great presence in the paint,” said CCHS coach Eric Henderson. “He works extremely hard and this summer is going to be huge for Tegan. If he works on his game like I think he will, he will be one of the better players in our outstanding league.”
Miles averaged 9.1 points and 7 rebounds per game for Catholic Central, which made it to the regional finals before losing to Racine Lutheran.
Jimmy Penzel, sr., Burlington High School: Penzel was the emotional leader of the BHS team, called the “glue” by Berezowitz.
“His ability to defend the post and physical post play helped us defend the post in numerous ways,” the coach said. “Jimmy is definitely an emotional player, which often gave our team energy and positive emotion throughout the season.”
Penzel averaged 7.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Brandon Schindler, Waterford Union High School, sr.; Greyson Wolf-Dixon, Waterford, jr.; Alex Hale, Union Grove, jr.; Spencer Wilker, Catholic Central, so.