It was Topic A around town all winter long.
“We had people coming up to us all the time wanting to talk about girls basketball,” said Lady Aces basketball coach Tim Willis.
There’s nothing like an all-time best 32-1 finish coming on the heels of the first perfect regular season in school history, with almost nightly record-setting performances to spur a little conversation.
“You guys were the buzz,” Willis told the team and others in attendance at Thursday night’s awards banquet held at the Logg Inn.
The Lady Aces were a perfect 29-0 after the regular season, the first time that had been accomplished in 101 years of basketball at the Hilltop. They followed that up with their third consecutive IHSA Class 2A Regional crown before losing in the Sectional finals to long-time nemesis Teutopolis.
Along the way there were three tournament championships, at Robinson, the Toyota Teamwork Classic and Eldorado. The Aces went through the Big 8 Conference field unscathed as well, a league with the third best non-conference record in Indiana, according to Willis.
While no one was surprised at the overall success the team enjoyed, few if any predicted a perfect season. None of the coaches did in their private pre-season predictions, though Willis said “we had a feeling that we had something special this year.”
The Lady Aces were chocked full of individual achievements as well. Junior Tyra Buss continued her relentless pursuit of the state career scoring record while this year adding the single-season state mark and career free throw state record to her list. Buss, who committed to Indiana University prior to the season, also upped her school single-game record to 54 points.
Alex Rosignol set the single-season rebounding record, and with one year remaining, can now set her sights on career marks while deciding which sport - volleyball or basketball - to play in college.
Alyssa Lang, who transferred from Fairfield at the start of the school year, crossed the 1,000-point career mark in a Lady Aces uniform and wound up with more than 1,200 for her four years.
Buss, who may post up some next season, according to Willis, was named the team’s MVP for the third straight year, while Rosignol claimed the Rebounding Award and Lang the Offensive Player of the Year Award.
Maddie Dardeen was named the Defensive Player of the Year, Reagan Keepes won Most Improved and freshman Dylan Marshall was tabbed Rookie of the Year.
Jessica Gill was selected as the winner of the Motivation Award, while fellow senior Marissa Hicks garnered the Lady Ace Award, only the third time Willis has made the award in his nine years at the helm.
A new award was named in honor of Bea Morgan, the team bus driver and manager. For all the assistance that Morgan provides the program, Willis put her name on a new Assist Award, with Lucero being named the winner.
Willis teared up when he thanked his son, senior Sean, for his help in managing the team as well.
In addition to all their accomplishments on the court, Willis was just as proud of “how they conducted themselves and represented our school and community.”
Willis thanked Susan Zimmerman for being a “team mom” and Christine Keepes for her behind the scene work and organization. He also thanked the Booster Club, parents, media and the coaches.
Junior varsity coach Steve Rigg handed out awards for the JV squad, which finished 9-6 overall and 3-3 in the Big 8. Leading scorer Brandi Metcalf and assist leader Callie Dunkel were co-winners of the MVP award.