Members of the Aquinas High School boys basketball staff received’t hesitate to inform you Chris Ancius is their on-court chief.
Ancius is among the Blugolds’ high scorers and a focus of the offense. He’s the man who speaks up when the Blugolds want a voice. He’s the one who will get the staff charged up within the huddle earlier than — and generally throughout — the sport.
Ancius’ expertise as a participant are an enormous purpose why the Blugolds are off to a 5-1 begin.
And whereas his in-game versatility is essential to the Blugolds’ success, what he’s doing away from the hardwood is arguably as essential.
The 6-foot-5 senior ahead has taken strides to make sure the Blugolds are a extra full staff exterior of the health club.
“I had a meeting with all the guys and I told all the guys that we are going to get together and we’re going do things a lot differently this year,” stated Ancius, who has drawn faculty curiosity from UW-La Crosse and UW-Platteville.
People are additionally studying…
“We’re going to be a lot more of a team and we’re not going to have the negativity that we had last year and I think that’s been a huge, huge factor in our victories thus far. We’ve just been playing really well, we’ve been playing confident and we’ve been playing as a team, most importantly.”
It’s not simply basketball-related actions Ancius and the Blugolds are doing to strengthen their bond. Prior to Tuesday’s 72-69 win over DeForest, Ancius helped manage a staff breakfast with out the assistance of the teaching employees.
“It’s just the little stuff like that that can get us closer together,” he stated. “When I played on an AAU team (coaches) Jason (Jesperson) and Adam (Hjelter) always preached that you have to do things together if you want to be a great team. I’m starting to carry that over into this, so these guys can know that ‘hey, I don’t care about the scoring and all that, I want us to be a great team because I know we can go places.’”
That unselfish play was on full show in Tuesday’s win. Ancius’ shot wasn’t falling prefer it normally does, so he moved into extra of a facilitator function. DeForest pressed for a lot of the sport, however Ancius introduced the ball up the ground throughout essential stretches of the second half.
“We don’t like to rest Eddie (Hardwick) too much, but when Eddie needs a rest Chris is our point guard,” Aquinas coach Sam Servais stated.
With his measurement, Ancius normally attracts an enormous defender away from the basket, which opens up the lane. He’s additionally proven that he has the power to beat his defender off the dribble — which he did twice in additional time Tuesday to provide Aquinas a four-point lead — which causes mismatches on the perimeter.
It additionally helps that Aquinas, ranked eighth within the Division 4 Associated Press ballot, has a bunch of fine 3-pointer shooters to identify up round Ancius’ drives.
“We have lots of shooters around me, great shooters around me,” stated Ancius, who has recorded a number of assists in every sport this season. “They are always hungry, always looking to get their own shot, so I know if I can’t get to the rim and get my own shot I know there are guys who are looking to score themselves.”
That scoring steadiness has been key to the Blugolds’ quick begin. Harwick — a 5-foot-10 junior guard — is averaging 15 factors per sport. Ancius is correct behind him at 14.5, and senior Alex Schulte is averaging 13.2.
“Chris is always getting us to shoot, before practice, after practice and when we can space the floor and shoot outside it opens up the lane a lot for drives and kicks,” Schulte stated. “I’ve been friends with Chris since I was about 4 years old. I’ve known him forever and he’s always been a hard worker and I love having him around because he pushes us all and gets the team better.”
Ancius’ emergence into extra of a staff chief was one thing Servais acknowledged over the summer time.
“He had great skill last year and I bet you there was a dozen times when I said ‘Chris, just cut loose, just cut loose,’ but he was a junior and that’s hard for a junior sometimes,” Servais stated. “This year I noticed it this summer, the first tournament in June, he showed great leadership. I couldn’t be more proud of him from June until now, he’s been doing a great job.”
And the Blugolds are benefitting from it. Four of Aquinas’ 5 wins have been by 15 or extra factors, with its lone loss —a 71-66 defeat — coming by the hands of Eau Claire Regis, which is ranked seventh in Division 4.
Dating again to the center of final season, Aquinas has received 12 of its final 16 video games, and with the guts of the convention schedule developing, the Blugolds seem like on the right track.
“What I like about these guys is they have good skill and they have a lot of experience,” Servais stated. “They’re not really green, we’ve got pretty good experience coming back.”
“We’re going to be a lot more of a team and we’re not going to have the negativity that we had last year and I think that’s been a huge, huge factor in our victories thus far.” — Chris Ancius, Aquinas senior
“We’re going to be much more of a staff and we’re not going to have the negativity that we had final yr and I feel that’s been an enormous, big think about our victories so far.”
— Chris Ancius, Aquinas senior