Trinity Lutheran hosts event to highlight middle-schoolers

The idea for all-star basketball games for local middle school girls and boys drew praise from some of those involved.

“It was a lot of fun, and I got to play with different players,” Eli Wischmeier said Friday night after the first Trinity Junior All-Star basketball games were played.

The seventh-grader at St. John’s Lutheran School, Sauers, suited up for the boys Blue Team, which lost to the Gold Team 58-55.

Wischmeier and Lillie Wessel, a seventh-grader at Immanuel Lutheran School, both said it was a neat experience playing in the games at Bollinger Athletic Complex at Trinity Lutheran High School on Seymour’s northeast side.

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Wessel played for the girls Gold Team, which defeated the Blue Team 37-31.

The teams was composed of sixth-grade, seventh-grade and eighth-grade students from Immanuel Lutheran in Seymour, Lutheran Central School in Brownstown, St. Peter’s Lutheran School at Columbus, St. John’s Lutheran School at White Creek and St. Ambrose Catholic School in Seymour.

Players had to be on the roster of the eighth-grade teams at the schools this season, and the schools had to be ones that feed students into Trinity Lutheran High School.

Aaron Rudzinski, athletics director at Trinity Lutheran, said the idea to organize the games came from his father, who coaches volleyball at a school in Kansas City.

“They do it in volleyball and they have good results,” Rudzinski said.

He said he talked the idea over with Trinity girls coach Mike Lang and boys coach Brian Stuckwisch, and both were in favor of the game.

Lang and his assistants coached the girls game, and Stuckwisch and his assistants coached the boys game.

Wessel said this is the first time she has played in any type of all-star game with girls who are not on her school team.

“I had a lot of fun,” Wessel said. “I like everything about basketball.”

Wessel, who recently completed her third season of playing basketball at Immanuel, said she played with the eighth-grade at Immanuel this past season because it only had two eighth-graders.

All the players competed in the free-throw contest Friday night.

“I made three out of five,” Wessel said. “It’s OKm but I could have done better.”

Sydney Jaynes from St. John’s Sauers was named most valuable player of the girls game as she scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds. Abby Miller, St. Peter’s, won the free-throw contest.

Wischmeier also said he enjoyed playing in the boys game.

He said he played AAU basketball in Brownstown and has an older brother, Ethan, who was a member of the Brownstown Central High School junior varsity squad this past season.

Elliiot Koopman, from St. Peter’s, a member of the Blue Team, was named most valuable player for the boys game as he scored 31 points.

The Gold boys had balanced scoring, with St. Peter’s teammates, Braden Taylor finishing with 14 and Casey Bartholomew 13 leading the way. Austin Bode with White Creek scoring 11, and Jack Marskberry of Immanuel adding 10.

Bartholomew won the free-throw contest.

“We had a lot of positive things about it,” Rudzinski said. “All the kids and their parents were excited about it.

He said the kids that were invited but not able to make the game missed a good time.

Radzinski said he plans to invited players from St. Bartholomew Catholic School in Columbus and St. Mary’s Catholic School in North Vernon for next year’s games.