Basketball team hoping to earn 2nd championship


For the second year in a row, the Immanuel Lutheran School eighth-grade boys basketball team captured the Lutheran Invitational Tournament title.

This weekend, the Warriors hope to repeat as the state champion.

Entering with a 29-2 record and the No. 1 seed in the 10-team Indiana Lutheran Schools Athletic Association state tournament, Immanuel will play its first game at 8 a.m. Saturday. The Warriors will face the winner of today’s play-in game between Unity Lutheran and Bremen.

Then at 3 p.m. Saturday, Immanuel will play the winner of tonight’s game between St. Peter’s Columbus and Concordia. The championship round is Sunday and will be streamed online at

All games will be played at Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School in Decatur, near Fort Wayne.

The 54th annual LIT, which featured eight teams, was Feb. 16 through Sunday at Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymour.

Immanuel defeated White Creek 61-16 and Lutheran Central 41-29 to reach the championship game. There, the Warriors and St. Peter’s Columbus ended regulation tied at 47. Immanuel scored first in overtime and maintained the lead for a 53-51 win.

That marked Immanuel’s fourth win against St. Peter’s this season. The Warriors won the other matchups by six, 18 and five points.

Immanuel’s team consists of eight eighth-graders and four seventh-graders.

Eighth-graders Marcus Brooks, Mitchell Hackman and Dylan Fields made the all-tournament team. In the three games, Brooks led with 42 points, Hackman had 34 points and Fields tallied 33 points. On the season, each of them are averaging between 13 and 14 points per game.

Others named to the all-tournament team were Jack Benter and Aidan Schroer of St. John’s-Sauers, Liam Kreis of Lutheran Central, Will Rieckers and J.T. Kuhlman of St. Peter’s and Logan Lankenau and Kennan Leis of Emmanuel-St. Michael.

Also, Hackman placed second in the hot shot competition, finishing behind winner Christian Pulliam of Calvary.

Kuhlman was named the Ken Roth Most Valuable Player, and White Creek received the Christian Sportsmanship Award.

Other members of Immanuel’s team are eighth-graders Caleb Williams, Kadin Harman, Conner Sims, Sam Friend and Carter Morris. The seventh-graders are Charlie Longmeier, Landon Fritsch, Eli Meyer and Jakob Arthur.

In Jim Hoffman’s 16 years as head coach, it was Immanuel’s third LIT title. The others were in 2008-09 and 2016-17. Overall, he is 354-122 as head coach. Brandon Goecker is his assistant coach.

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