Govek, Ognacevic, Verhagen make all-state

josk govek lisa reedcasey verhagen

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THREE BASKETBALL PLAYERS from the area made all-state teams: South’s Josh Govek (top), and Lutheran’s Casey Verhagen (middle) and Jacob Ognacevic (bottom). – Photos by Lisa Reed (Govek) and Jenni Pickel (Ognacevic, Verhagen).

Josh Govek was scrolling through Twitter recently when an item caught his eye.

The Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s Division 1 all-state team was posted, so naturally the Sheboygan South senior clicked the link.

“I wasn’t really thinking like, ‘oh, I hope my name is on it,’” he said. “But once I saw it, the first thing I did was text my dad.

“Yeah, it was great to see and it’s a humbling experience.”

Ten players made all-state first team in the division and Govek was one of 13 to receive honorable mention.

He was not expecting to see his name, but says he was hopeful.

Govek thought an improved Redwings’ team – they finished 10-12 – helped his chances.

“It’s hard to put a player on when the team only wins a couple games, so by winning double-digit games, I think that helped a lot,” he said. “And I think I did more than just be a scorer this year. That makes a difference.”

Govek knew his average of 23 points per game would stand out, but he thought more assists and fewer turnovers on his resume also helped.

“I was trusting my teammates more and it worked out well for me,” said Govek, who also averaged 3.8 rebounds.

Govek, who played four seasons on the varsity, plans on attending the University of Wisconsin next year unless the option to play basketball – at a school that also fits academically – comes along.

“I was blessed with the opportunity to play at South,” he said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and I feel like it’s really prepared me for the next step in my life with college coming up.

“I’m thankful for everyone that has supported South and I hope that I made everyone proud.”

Lutheran also has all-state selections: Crusader senior Jacob Ognacevic and sophomore Casey Verhagen were two of 10 Division 5 players picked for the all-state team.

Ognacevic led Wisconsin in scoring (all divisions) with an average of 39.4 points per game – 6.3 more than anyone else – and ranked second in rebounding with 16.1 per outing.

“I know I’m not shocking you by saying he’s one of the best kids to ever come through Sheboygan County,” Sheboygan Christian coach Brett Flipse said. “When you actually watch film on him, he is a really talented young man. And the one thing I would say about him is I never see him flaunt it. … For anybody saying he wouldn’t do what he’s doing now playing a Division I schedule like at North or South, I think they really haven’t watched him play. When he gets to college, I think he’s really going to blossom.”

The Valparaiso recruit broke Sam Dekker’s school record for most points in a year and became the fourth boy in the state to score at least 1,000 points in a season when he finished with 1,024 as a senior.

“Unbelievable, huh?” Lutheran coach Nick Verhagen said. “It’s absolutely staggering that he’s the third player in Wisconsin basketball history to score 1,000 points in a season. I mean, you just keep going back to how hard he works, and how many shots and reps he puts up, and how he’s grown physically and mentally in the last three years. His dedication to his craft is staggering.”

Ognacevic needed just 40 more to set the all-time state record set by Wausaukee’s Anthony Pieper in 1992-’93. Pieper also had 1,032 as a junior and is the only boy in Wisconsin to have more points in a season than Ognacevic.

“I wasn’t really disappointed about (not breaking the record),” he said. “I was just really disappointed that we couldn’t get to state again and disappointed that (the sectional semifinal win) was my last game with the guys on the team (because of the Coronavirus outbreak).

“That was the really tough part about it. I mean, we would’ve been the first D5 team to repeat as state champs. That would bond us all together forever. It just sucks it couldn’t happen.”

Verhagen, the only sophomore of the 26 listed on the all-state squad – which includes honorable mention –averaged 20 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds a game.

“It was a goal of mine and I just trusted in my work, put up the numbers and as the season went on, I felt I should probably get it,” Verhagen said.

“All the hard work payed off.”

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