GAME STORY: Guerin seniors celebrate with W (TheTimes24-7.com)
Since the four Guerin Catholic seniors first set foot on campus four years ago, the expectations have been high, fueled in part by a state title in 2012.
But if you ask the boys of the Class of 2014, they insist that its really just three good friends playing ball together — like they have since grade school. They also insist that the fourth senior, who doesn’t play much, drives them because of his journey back to the court.
For the school’s all-time leading scorer, forward Aaron Brennan, his future includes playing hoops for IUPUI and the Jaguars. Guard Whit Rapp will take his basketball talents (all-time school leader in assists) to Georgia’s Emory University. Center Cris Burrough will join nearby DePauw University and play hoops with the Tigers.
For reserve Stuart Schultz, his basketball career may be ending. But the fact that he’s even on the floor after fighting lymphoblastic leukemia is described by some as a miracle.
“They passed to each other like they had been playing together all their lives,” Guerin coach Pete Smith said after the Golden Eagles’ Senior Night win over Pendleton Heights Feb. 21. “In a way, they have.”
“These seniors have meant a lot our program and our school.”
The senior year includes some pressure and expectations, with Guerin ranked third in Class 3A and No. 12 in the all-class coaches poll and a 17-3 record going into Tuesday’s regular season finale against Fort Wayne Luers. That pressure might get to some, but the four say the rely on each other.
“I love these guys. I love the seniors and my teammates. We’re friends on and off the court,” Brennan said. “I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.”
Burrough agrees, “We get along great, just joking around all the time. We also know how each other plays the game.”
Rapp says each player gets support from than just his fellow players.
“I can’t even begin to explain how much support we get from the whole community. Parents who don’t even have kids playing sports come and support us,” Rapp said. “It’s one big, community event. I’m going to miss it a lot.”
When Schultz (or “Stu” as he’s affectionately called), a wide smile appears on most faces. Whenever he enters a game, the students begin a long “Stuuuu” cheer.
In the final home game, Schultz was in the starting lineup to the delight of the crowd.
“My heart was just racing (during the player intros). That was such a great moment for me,” Schultz said. ” They’re all such great players. We’re all pretty good friends. ”
Schultz re-entered that game late in the fourth quarter, grabbing a rebound and bringing the student section to its feet.
“I don’t know whether to be happy that the crowd cheered so loud or insulted,” Schultz said with a laugh. “Because it’s kind of like ‘Oh, he’s not going to get any points, so we’ll cheer for the rebound.’ ”
Schultz’s teammates and coaches marvel at his journey. Schultz has been on the squad all year, a remarkable achievement since he first fell ill as a freshman, leading to three years of chemotherapy treatment.
“It’s just amazing he’s back on the court again,” Smith said.
“He deserves it more than anyone else on this team,” Brennan said. “He works so hard in practice and you don’t get to see that because it’s in practice and not in the game. “
He also spent time as the team’s manager during the 2012 State Title run.
“He was the heart and soul of our team (that year),” Burrough said.
“It’s the best high school basketball story I’ve ever heard in my life,” Rapp said. “He inspires us every day.”