LaVille Basketball (GV)

Edison, Kuskye Reflect On LaVille Lady Hoops Vision Of Coach Amor

By Scot Shearer | Feb 9, 2024 2:41 PM

WINAMAC - When LaVille hired Nicholas Amor as its next head coach, the 2013 LaVille graduate met with his prospective players and talked about a vision. His vision for the LaVille girls' basketball team, and what that vision would include. Amor also figured it was going to take some time. "When I first started coaching, I will be honest, my end goal was not to be a head varsity coach," said Amor, who played for Michael Edison at LaVille from 2009-2013. "But as I coached more and more I saw the joy in sharing my knowledge with the younger generation. Then I got a taste of what it was like to be a part of a high school program at Lewis Cass, and that’s when I knew I wanted to pursue a head coaching position at the right school. "When we moved back home I knew I wanted to coach in some capacity, because I bleed blue and I want to see all LaVille athletic teams have success. The timing couldn’t have been better. I had a chance to learn from boys basketball) coach (Michael) Edison (as the LaVille head junior varsity coach) another full year and this time as a coach. Then the position came available for the girls and I knew I wanted it." At the time, junior Brooke Edison, one of Michael's daughters, had just completed her freshman year and played in nearly 20 games. Mikalah Kuskye, also a junior, played in a little more than a handful of varsity games and was working to become the Lancer point guard. Prior to Amor's arrival, LaVille had posted double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons just once in the last 20 years. In his first season, Amor guided the LaVille ladies to a 19-7 overall record and the first Everwise Bi-County Basketball Tournament title in 30 years. Those 19 wins tied the school-record for 19 wins in a season. With the 2024 Bi-County item checked off Amor's bucket list, the Lancers needed to regroup a bit after losing its top two leading scorers and rebounders from the 2022-23 season. After going 3-8 midway through this season, LaVille picked up a few wins and seemed to turn a corner. A 42-39 loss to North Judson in a Hoosier North Athletic Conference, in what LHS felt was a game that slipped away, coach Amor and his team knew they had to make some changes if they wanted a different outcome. Then shortly after a Bi-County loss to eventual champion New Prairie in the semifinal round, Amor addressed his team about taking better care of the ball and making one more pass for a better shot. For the most part, the Lancer defense was keeping Amor's crew in a lot of games. Now, more than ever Amor's club heard their coach loud and clear, winning five straight and the first sectional championship in 21 years. LaVille Lady Hoops also helped Amor check off another bucket list item by winning the 2A Sectional 34 title. LHS was able to not only avenge the regular season loss to the Blue Jays, but win on North Judson's home court in the sectional finale. We had a chance to chat with LaVille leading scorer and rebounder Brooke Edison following the sectional victory about her experience so far. "Being a junior on the girls basketball team has been fun to get to play on this team for three years now and getting to play a lot has made this sport so much fun," said Edison. "From being a freshman and not playing a lot of varsity and then having a new coach last year has changed the dynamic of the game. Going on a winning streak towards the end of this season has made basketball that much more fun and especially coming out with the sectional win. Knowing that we haven't won a sectional since 2003 and not winning Bi-County for a while until last year has really boosted our team morale. Winning two important tournaments makes playing LaVille basketball that much special. This sectional win means for me that we didn't give up no matter how difficult the teams were and we came through and won after so long." Edison, along with sophomore Mikalah Kuskye, lead a defense that has been the backbone for the Lancers much of the season, and especially lately. "After losing the seniors (Lucy Sherk and Heaylyn Kwiatkowski) we knew it was going to be an adjustment and somewhat of a challenge but our 2023-2024 team was up for it," said Kuskye, who leads LaVille in assists. "I wouldn’t say we have had the easiest season and definitely not the best, looking at our record, but one thing I do know is that we are a team that never quits. We always are looking for the next right play and focusing on the small details. We as a team focus on getting the job done defensively and that truly has been a big part of our success. To be completely honest it still doesn’t feel real and that we have made history winning this sectional title!" For Kuskye, her memories went back to her first year of high school basketball. "Looking back to when I was a freshman, I would have never believed the things we have accomplished in a short period of time for the girls program," explained Kuskye. "I remember coming to open gyms in the summer and working on my dribbling skills and shooting constantly. Freshman year we only had 11 girls and struggled even being able to play sometimes because of sickness and injuries. "Sophomore year rolled around and we found out that we were getting a new head coach, Nick Amor. This became a full circle for the class of 2023, 2024, and 2025 because we all had been coached by his sister, Hannah, and his mother Dawn Amor. Sophomore year, I had never spent so much time in the gym during summer. We played zone games and did lots of open gym practices. As I look back on the summer days, the ones I dreaded going, I truly am grateful for the opportunities because not only did I get better, it created life-long friendships and a road full of success. I really think our team chemistry began sophomore year summertime because I got the gift to play with a very talented class of 2023. Lucy Sherk, Heaylyn Kwiatkowski, and Lauren Edison were big encouragers and a foundation of the success we started and have continued with. Working well together we created this family and sprang us forward to bi-county where we won against a talented team, Bremen." During the last three years, Kuskye's game continues to improve and a lot of the credit goes out to the Amor Family. "To me, being the point guard on this team is very special," said Kuskye. "(Former junior high coach) Hannah (Amor) always wanted me to be the point guard but I was someone who got in their head very easily and found it hard to have confidence in myself. After her (unexpected) passing, I knew God had put me up to the challenge and it made it that much more special when I got to play under her brother, Nick Amor. "I cherish this role and think of her often when I’m playing. It’s an honor to run such a vital position but I couldn’t do it without the encouragement of coaches and teammates. They always have my back and will always help me through anything. I see my role as the person who gets the offense running smoothly and executing the passes to give my teammates the opportunity to score. I love being that extra pass for a three or the person who makes a steal then lobs it ahead to a teammate to score a layup. It makes me happy to see us do it as a team together!" From the start, coach Nicholas Amor has talked about how important defense is, and Kuskye was just one of the players that took that to heart. "Every game Nick talks about our keys of the night. Defense is always one of them whether it’s listed or not. I always make sure that at the end of the day, my job is defensive intensity. I don’t know what it is about defense that gets me so hype when I can keep a girl from not scoring. I appreciate the confidence Nick, JT, Dunlap, and Steve have in me to lock down the other opponents on the opposing team. With that being said, I couldn’t do it without my team. We as a team play great defensive not just half court but full court. Our help side saves us all, at one point or another. No matter if our shots are falling or not we can count on our defense and that is something I can say we are proud of. We all communicate pretty well and ultimately get the job done. I guess I can say, “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.” Saturday, LaVille will participate in its first regional since 2002-03. That Lancer team lost 50-45 to Boone Grove on February 22, 2003. This group of Lancers wants to do something no other LaVille girls basketball team has done. Game On. LAVILLE LADY HOOPS Regional History 1985-86 lost to Bremen, 56-25 1986-87 lost to NorthWood, 51-44 1987-88 defeated Penn, 42-38 lost to NorthWood, 54-34 1988-89 lost to Penn, 47-45 1990-91 lost to South Bend John Adams, 51-35 2002-03 lost to Boone Grove, 50-45

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