Chargers celebrate success

Mindy Carls
Mindy Carls
Orion High School seniors and special award winners pose at the end of the boys basketball end-of-season program on Sunday, April 11, in the gym. From left are Josh Spranger; Cade Weiss, Best Teammate; Adam Burgert; Will Lawson, Most Improved; Jarrett Thornburg, Best Defensive Player; Abram Anderson, and Will Dunlap, Best Offensive Player. Not pictured are senior Kaden Hass-Meguffy; junior Chance Stropes, Most Improved, and junior Jared Mohr, Best Practice Player.

Will Dunlap was named Best Offensive Player and Jarrett Thornburg the Best Defensive Player for Orion’s varsity boys basketball team on Sunday, April 11, in the gym.

Chance Stropes and Will Lawson received Most Improved awards. Cade Weiss was selected Best Teammate and Jared Mohr, Best Practice Player.

Varsity coach Alex Johnson’s team finished 10-3 overall and 6-3 in the Three Rivers West. The team would have finished third if the conference had kept official standings.

Orion outscored opponents an average of 54.8 points to 46.6.

The seniors were 31-10 in their two varsity seasons, 2019-20 and spring 2021, Johnson said. In November 2019, they won the 10 & 32 Orion Tip-Off Classic.

Will Dunlap led the Chargers with a double-double, averaging 16.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

Stropes had the best field-goal percentage, 62 percent, and top free-throw percentage, 88.2 percent, while Adam Burgert was best in three-pointing shooting with 35 percent.

Weiss averaged 4.2 assists per game. Will Dunlap had two steals per game and one block, and Josh Spranger had one block per game.

The Chargers got off to a slow start, hitting only 22.4 percent of their field-goal attempts in a 47-35 season-opening loss to the Riverdale Rams. Three nights later, Orion edged the Rams 57-55.

Season highlights included:

• Beating Sherrard twice, 58-57 and 46-38. Weiss hit a three to force overtime in the first of those games.

• Spoiling Fulton’s perfect season.

• Winning all four senior night games (their own, the cheerleaders’, the band’s and Morrison’s).

• Winning by 20 points, 73-53, over Ridgewood, which won more than 10 games in the shortened season.

• Becoming possibly only the Orion team to win the last game of the season.

• Qualifying for Academic All-State recognition from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association with a team grade point average of 3.3.

Varsity letters were presented to Abram Anderson, Lawson, Weiss, Mohr, Luke Johnson, Will Dunlap, Thornburg, Spranger, Ty Comer, Burgert and Stropes.

Receiving junior varsity letters were Trey Erdmann, Elijah Soukup, Cole Kimball, Jase Brokaw, Kane Lieving, Kellan Ossian, Gus Nedved and Kameron Weaver.

Caiden Mielke, Ben Seabloom and Derek Nelson received freshman numerals, as did Mason Tennant, Landon Gekas and Luke Dunlap.

Spirit squad awards were presented separately. Varsity letters went to Abigail Grems, Nickie Kettler, Sarah Marshall, Avery Noble, Rachel VanDuyne, Gretchen Kerker, Chloe Rittenhuse, Hope Seys, Elle Weber, Melaina Meisenburg, Sophie Selander and Kylee Brown.

Freshman numerals went to Braylin Crose, Kenadi Sovey, Brooklynn Haars and Kristen Sovey.