MAHOMET — The stars get recognized the most, but there are some glue guys who have been instrumental this season for wrestling, girls’ basketball and boys’ basketball.
Here are three under-the-radar players who might not get the spotlight, but are certainly very valuable.
Luke Koller, boys’ basketball
Koller has provided Ryan Bosch with great size off the bench, and he’s starting to become a regular offensive contributor.
Koller led the way with eight points in the loss to Lincoln. He was the only Bulldog who really had some offensive mojo. He finished 4-of-7 from the field and also ripped down an offensive rebound in just nine minutes of playing time.
The 6-foot-7 center just changes the game when he’s on the floor. He allows Braden Finch and Grant Coleman to move to the wing where they can take some guys off the dribble. He also adds a defensive presence who can block shots at the rim.
Koller was huge against Normal Community, totaling six points, five rebounds and one assist in 13 minutes. He also ripped down six rebounds in the romp over Rantoul. He’s just doing a little bit of everything off the bench for Bosch, and Koller will be one to watch in the years ahead.
Ashley Wheeler, girls’ basketball
The youngsters have been the talk of the town for M-S girls basketball. And for good reason. Durbin Thomas, Cayla Koerner, Savannah Orgeron and Nichole Taylor have brought a much-needed boost to the program.
But Wheeler’s steadiness hasn’t gone unnoticed. The senior forward has been a staple of the starting lineup, and she always gives the Lady Bulldogs timely buckets and big rebounds.
Wheeler contributed six points and four boards against Lincoln. She added four points and seven rebounds in the win over Bloomington Central Catholic in late January.
Six points and four rebounds might not seem like a ton, but they really go a long way.
The youngsters are going to win a bunch of games in the future for the Bulldogs. But don’t be surprised if Wheeler plays a monster role in a big postseason game.
Because that’s just what seniors do.
Chance Decker, wrestling
Senior Chance Decker won a regional title last year, but he’s been overshadowed by the brilliance of some of his other teammates.
But Decker is still ridiculously talented and will continue to be a major piece of the Bulldogs’ stretch. There’s no way that M-S is 22-1 this season without Decker.
His leadership has been key for a very young team. And he’s not just a vocal leader either. Decker proves it on the mat. He’s aiming to become a back-to-back regional champion. This year, he wants to make an even deeper run in the state tournament.