PONCA, Neb. | Sometimes when Ponca boys basketball coach Adam Poulosky watches Logan Kingsbury pass up an easy basket to dish to a teammate with a better scoring opportunity, he shakes his head and thinks to himself, “Dude, shoot it, it’s a 5-foot basket.”
Poulosky then smiles at the result. Kingsbury assists on the wing to his younger brother Carter, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who leads the defending Class C2 state champions with 50 3-point baskets. Or, Kingsbury might have found 57.3-percent shooting 6-foot-5 senior post Max Masim underneath.
“I feel we have the most weapons in the state by far,” said the Sioux City Journal’s Siouxland Athlete of the Week.
Logan Kingsbury may have one of the lowest scoring averages (10.6) of his four years as a starter for the Indians. However, he has a career-best 158 assists along with three double-figure scoring teammates.
Connor Day, a 6-2 senior, leads No. 1-ranked Ponca (24-1) with a 13.8 scoring average. Carter Kingsbury and Masin have respective 11.8 and 10.5 averages. Six more are in the rotation for the Lewis and Clark Conference champions, who will face either Hartington-Newcastle or Crofton in Tuesday night’s Subdistrict C2-5 game at Wayne High School.
“Carter is one of the best shooters in the state,” said the 18-year-old son of Chris and Stacie Kingsbury of Ponca. “(Brandon) Kneifl and (Evan) Anderson are great spot-up shooters who could start for most teams. (Dalton) Tremayne is shooting lights out. Max is a threat inside or out. Connor has made more layups than I have ever seen. Gage McGill is as scrappy as they come.
“We are 10 deep. It’s really fun. I just push the ball up court and make an easy pass and the right pass. It’s fun. It’s rewarding. You could shoot the ball 20 times but you won’t always make each shot. Getting 20 assists is a lot better.”
Kingsbury said he doesn’t care about his statistics, just getting the team back to the state tournament. Incidentally, he’s Ponca’s career leader in points (1,398), assists (451), steals (211), free throw makes (454) and free throw attempts (676).
“This year, we’re balanced,” said Poulosky, who has a 92-53 record in six seasons. “Logan is not scoring as much, but he’s doing a great job finding teammates and setting teammates up for success. It really helps us be the balanced and dangerous team we are. When he sets guys up, that’s when we are the most dangerous, I’d say.
“Not since I’ve been coaching have I seen an assist (player) like him. Some of them are amazing, coming off our fast breaks. Some players look to score first. He looks for what’s best for the team. It may mean he will score, but he looks for the best shot and sometimes, it’s someone cutting to the hoop. Lately, there’s been times when he’s too pass-happy. But as an all-around player, he has the knack for making the right play.”
Kingsbury said the entire team is unselfish and makes the extra pass. There have been several instances of different leading scorers in games, including last Friday’s 64-32 win over Creighton where Masin scored a team-best 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting, which included a 3-pointer.
Kingsbury won C2 first-team all-state honors as a junior when he averaged 13.0 points and 5.2 rebounds for last year’s 27-4 team. During the 52-45 title game win at Lincoln’s Devaney Center, he scored 16 points while his brother added 13.
No doubt their parents saw the strong effort from their sons, part of a program which has made 15 state appearances. Chris Kingsbury scored 1,118 career points at the University of Iowa from 1993-96.
Undrafted by the NBA, the elder Kingsbury was cut during the 1996 preseason by the Washington Bullets (now Wizards). He later played in the CBA, the IBL and Italy. He now serves as the senior vice-president and chief operating officer for the Bank of Dixon County in Ponca.
“He shot a lot of 3s,” said Logan Kingbury, whose dad twice made nine 3s in a game at Iowa. “He coached me since I could walk. He’d rather talk about Ponca basketball now.”
Logan Donelan, Elk Point-Jefferson…. The senior qualified for the South Dakota Class B state tournament, improving his season record to 34-0 after winning the 182-pound title in the Region 2B Tournament at Salem.
Travis Theisen, Le Mars.... The junior placed eighth at 220 pounds for the Bulldogs and finished 37-13 on the season.