They Persevered And Transformed A Program

Johnie J. Logue
Enterprise Staff
By Johnie J. Logue
Enterprise Staff
‘The time for us to say goodbye is near
The day I thought would never come is here
Though many hearts are broken, we must somehow carry on
Cause, I sure am gonna miss you when you are gone
Yes, I sure am gonna miss you when you are gone’
-Randy Newman
Forgive me for going first person in this story but this one is personal. I am invested in these boys. I have been to their practices, rode on the team bus and sat in McDonald’s with them.
I have written up their games and taken their pictures for four years. I traveled the highways and the byways to watch them play. I watched Matt Luebbert and Logan Davis at 14-15 years old get their brains beat out for two years playing against 17-18 year old kids.
 I cried when they beat Osceola for their first win in a year. No, it wasn’t eye drops as I let some believe, it was real tears. They ended that season 2-22 after a 1-23 freshman year.
I watched both score their 1000th points. Also, I witnessed their greatest victory thus far in winning the Skyline tournament in overtime.
So what changed? Fellow Seniors Joey Mace and Jake Luebbert joined the program two years ago and along with Senior Tyler Simons, Sophomores Lane Bates, Parker Love, and Freshman Trey Palmer,  they were 13-13 last season. 
Freshman Brady Slavens won a starting role this season and usually scores the first basket of the game.
Jake Luebbert and Lane Bates have given them an inside presence. Palmer has given them another offensive weapon and a ball handler. Love and Mace gives them a jump start off the bench and Slavens, Love, Bates and Palmer are the heir apparents in years to come.
Make no mistake though, as bad as they have needed the others, the heart and soul of this team lies in the passion and athleticism of Matt Luebbert and Logan Davis. They paid their dues as freshmen and sophomores in the losing years. Hopefully, we will write volumes on the others in years to come but as we bid farewell to these four seniors, this is indeed their moment as they pass the torch.
Davis and Luebbert had three coaches in four years.
Jason Ollison felt like he had to play them as freshmen. Keith Glenn tried to nurture them along as sophomores. They were 2-22.
 Scott Floyd inherited the maturing juniors and reaped the benefits of their senior year.
All three coaches were good coaches. Ollison lost three starters a week before the season started. Glenn had kids who knew very little about basketball. About the only consistent things were little Logan Davis and the athletic Matt Luebbert. Warsaw hadn’t had a true point guard in several years. I heard about him in the eighth grade, so I went to take a look. He stole the ball and drew his defender in and hit his trailer for a winning layup in the final seconds. I wrote a story about him.
 Here was my coveted point guard. He was just 13 years old and not even five foot tall at the time but there he was. The trouble was that he would have to start. The Tri-County eats most freshmen and on top of that somebody scheduled the outstanding Sacred Heart team.
Sacred Heart had them 61-16 at half on our own court. They pressed the entire game.
The great Randall Sherman was gone and I wanted to go somewhere and cry. I rode to games with Coach Ollison and felt sorry for him and more so for the kids. We had great kids. I felt bad for Wesley Carr, Austin McCall and the rest. They were decent players and deserved a better fate. We just for some reason couldn’t win.
Before I go on, winning is not everything but winning is better than losing every game. I just want to be competitive every year.
Matt Luebbert hit a free throw with no time on the clock to beat Buffalo for our only win that season. Luebbert had star player written all over him and we just needed Davis to grow.
The next year we got two wins. Matt was already a star and Davis was growing. We were 13-8 last year until we played the four best teams in the Tri-County and lost first round to Sherwood in districts. 
These two players could have quit along the way, but they persevered and here we are at 18-7.
Coach Floyd wondered why I was surprised when he text me when he first took over that they won three games in a day at a Summer scrimmage. I sat through the 3-46 run and he didn’t.
Fans from other schools laughed about playing Warsaw. I kept my mouth shut but it was hard. I knew Davis and Luebbert would be seniors one day and nobody would laugh then. Our day would get here. I just had to wait.
At about the same time, the football program was 2-28. Yeah, there were tough times at WHS.
We moved out of Tri-County Conference. We could no longer play with the likes of Blair Oaks and the rest.
All I ever wanted was a 20 win season. In my  28 years, it never happened. Joe Gold took care of that.
This week we could get our 20th victory and only one team in 50 years at WHS on Wildcat Drive ever won 20. In the end, it really doesn’t matter as I am very proud of this team and I have some wonderful stories to tell. Parents, players and coaches have come and gone. I have only been the sports writer for eight years. So, for 20 years I went because I loved the game. I still love the game and now I love the kids.
They are very capable of winning their district. Yeah, and if they do, I will cry again.