Four R-P boys named to All-Conference basketball team

By : 
Chad Smith
Tri-County Record

Four Rushford-Peterson boys’ basketball players are included in this year’s list of All-Three Rivers Conference selections. Landon Skalet and Luke O’Hare were named to the all-conference squad, while Kobe Lind and Justin Ruberg are All-Conference Honorable Mention selections. What makes the news even better for Trojan basketball fans is three of the four players are eligible to return next season.

Off the court, nine R-P boys’  also earned Academic All-Conference awards.

Landon Skalet – All-TRC

 Skalet led the team in scoring with 384 points in 29 games this season, an average of 13.2 points a game. Skalet drained an amazing 47 percent of three-point shots (61 of 128). He was even more reliable at the free throw line, hitting a team-high 71 of 90 free throw attempts (78%). He was also a facilitator, contributing a team-high122 assists (4.2 a game). The senior was also the top defensive thief, leading the team with 58 steals (2 per game).

While there isn’t much Skalet can’t do on the court, Trojans’ coach Chris Drinkall said Skalet is also the kind of player coaches enjoy working with. “You love watching guys like this grow up through your program,” Drinkall said. “He never misses a workout. He’s the first one there and the last one to leave, so he’s got a good work ethic, which will serve him well after high school. He’ll be successful no matter what he does after college.

“On the court, he’s one of the best shooters I’ve seen. Landon shot more than 44 percent from three-point range the last two years, which is unheard of. He was just a great kid to coach that always wants to get better.”

Luke O’Hare – All-TRC

O’Hare was right on the heels of Skalet all season in the scoring race, finishing a close second with 380 points in 29 games (13.1 points per game). O’Hare was the team’s top rebounder, grabbing a total of 164 missed shots (5.6 a game). The Trojan sophomore added 100 assists (3.44 per game) and 48 steals (1.6 a game). O’Hare hit 76 percent from the free throw line (57 for 75).

“I really think Luke is going to get better and better every year,” Drinkall said. “He puts in a lot of work outside of the season in cross country and track. It’s fun to watch him succeed at other sports and that just carries over into basketball for him.

“He’s the guy we’re going to have to look to next year for leadership after Skalet graduates. Luke averaged just over 13 points a game this year and we’ll need all that and probably more next year. He does everything you ask a player to do on both ends of the floor. He can shoot, rebound, handle the ball, and can play defense on the other team’s best player. He’s just an all-around good basketball player for us.”

Justin Ruberg – Honorable Mention

Justin Ruberg was one of many underclassmen on the roster who stepped up and played big minutes for a young basketball team. Ruberg’s efforts were rewarded by conference coaches who selected the Trojan freshman as All-TRC Honorable Mention.

Ruberg finished third on the team in scoring with 265 points (9.1 points per game) and second in rebounds with 157 (5.4 a game). His free throw shooting was tremendous, as he hit 63 of 78 attempts at the stripe (80%). Ruberg also added 37 assists and 22 steals this season.

“The future is really bright for him,” Drinkall said. “The sky is literally the limit for him as a freshman. He’s unique in that Justin has guard skills in a post player’s body. He handles the ball really well and he shot almost 40 percent from the three-point line (18 of 50, 36%). He can also play with his back to the basket. Justin has some of the better post moves I’ve seen, especially for a kid his age.

“He’s so defined down on the block, uses his body to get position, and even pump-fakes really well too. It’s really hard to guard a kid like that. If you put a big guy on him, Justin will step out and hit a three-point shot. He was wheeling-and-dealing in the Cresco (IA) game, taking on 6-foot-4 and 6-5 upperclassmen. He got stopped on a drive, so he stepped out and hit outside shots. He’s a hard matchup for the other team, no matter who they put on him.”

Kobe Lind – Honorable Mention

No matter what team Kobe Lind is on, he’s likely one of the most athletic kids on the roster. The Trojan sophomore was fourth in total scoring (241 points, 8.6 per game avg.) despite missing one game due to illness. He shot well from three-point range, draining 37 of 106 attempts (a solid 35%) and 28 for 41 at the free throw line (68%). Lind was the third-leading rebounder on the team by pulling down 111 missed shots (4 per game). The underclassman also chipped in 35 assists and 36 steals this season.

“He keeps improving every season,” Drinkall said. “His three-point shooting percentage jumped by ten points. He’s working on getting to the basket more consistently instead of settling for a lot of jump shots, which he did do earlier in his career. Defensively, being 6-foot-3 and athletic means he can block shots. He also gets steals and can grab a lot of rebounds too.”

Academic All-Conference Winners

Nine R-P boys basketball players were named to the TRC Academic All-Conference team;  Landon Skalet, Tim Highum, Luke O'Hare, Easton Wilcenski, Jonah Sievers, Hale Stensgard, Ben Wieser, Justin Ruberg, and Malachi Bunke.

In order to be considered for the award, players have to achieve at least a 3.5 Grade Point Average (GPA)