BOUNCE: 2023 Season Awards for ACAC boys basketball

Heritage’s Luke Saylor attempts to steal the ball from Woodlan’s Trey Yoder during a January 21 game. (Photo by Leverage Photography)

Before we get to the Outside the Huddle All-Area Team and our end-of-year awards, Bounce wanted to take some time and take a last glance at area conferences and hand out some league-specific hardware.

Next up is the ACAC.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Isaac Schultz, Adams Central

Schultz was just a machine as he pushed the relatively deep Adams Central team to a highly successful season. Along the way, he earned ACAC Tournament MVP honors and became one of the area’s toughest matchups around the rim. He also led the way as Adams Central earned another Sectional finals trip before they lost to eventual state champion Blackhawk Christian. Along the way, Schultz was a double double menace as he had his way with almost any opponent he faced. On January 3, when Adams Central came out of a rough start to the season, Schultz even blocked six shots against Parkway (Ohio) showing a rim protection we hadn’t fully seen previously but are well aware of now.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ethan Poling, Adams Central; Luke Saylor, Heritage; Dusty Pearson, Jay County

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Luke Saylor, Heritage

If you know Outside the Huddle, you know the drill. Who is the “best player” in a given season and who is the “most valuable” to their team are two different things in our eyes. There is no denying Luke Saylor’s value to Heritage basketball.

Saylor is Heritage basketball. He was pretty quickly as a freshman and parlayed his career into being the best scorer in Patriot history. Everything that Saylor did over his career, he did 10-fold over the Patriots’ 13-win season this time around, even closing his career out with an impressive 25 point outing. He scored in single digits just three times as a senior, while hitting 34 points twice and knocking down five three pointers on two seperate occasions.

Heritage went as Saylor went 9.7 times out of 10 and he established himself as a player with immense value for the program and the conference.

HONORABLE MENTION: Tucker Jenkins, Bluffton; Alex Miller, Woodlan; Nyles Knapke, Heritage

BREAKOUT PLAYER: Trey Yoder, Woodlan

Yoder wasted no time in his sophomore season attempting to lay claim to this title, scoring 16 points in the season opening win over New Haven while hitting the buzzer beating game winner in the process. What a way to introduce yourself to the masses. He had a couple of ok games from there but then rallied off 7 double digit scoring performances over 8 games from December 6-30 and suddenly, he was one of the biggest scoring threats in the ACAC immediately. He scored a career high 22 points in a Sectional win over Garrett while hitting four three pointers. Yoder posted six double doubles on the season including 18 points and 14 rebounds against Southern Wells and 17 points and 13 rebounds opposite Fremont.

HONORABLE MENTION: DeeJay Gerig, Woodlan; Micah McClure, Adams Central; Tytus Lehman, South Adams; Kaden Grau, Bluffton; Kobe Meyer, Heritage

COACH OF THE YEAR: Aaron McClure, Adams Central

McClure led Adams Central to their most wins in his tenure with 20. And as successful as he has been during his many years at the helm of the program, he has only surpassed 15 wins three times before this season, one which you could tab as the best in the history of Adams Central. After losing 4 of their first 5 games, there were questions about the preseason hype for the Flying Jets but then McClure and company went 19-2 the rest of the way, losing by just three to NECC power West Noble and then a 7 point Sectional loss to the eventual State Champions. Nothing else in the ACAC this season was as impressive as Adams Central’s run from January 3 to March 3.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jerry Bomholt, Jay County; John Baker, Woodlan


Who guards Isaac Schultz next season? With the cupboard is far from bare behind the current junior, Schultz was able to constantly prove his worth and his potential domination against a variety of competition. The ACAC takes some hits to graduation and wasn’t an all together big league size wise anyway. It leads Schultz to be the conversation of the most potentially dominant players against their own league in Northeast Indiana.

The Flying Jets also return Micah McClure and Ryan Tester, among other critical pieces. With so much coming back and potential dominance continuing to reign at the basket, this is clearly the right pick for an early favorite come next season.

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