SOUTHINGTON - Andrew Lohneiss saved his best season at Southington for last.
The senior guard played a pivotal role for the boys basketball team, which reached the quarterfinals of the Division III state tournament and had its best season as a program in eight seasons.
Lohneiss finished his season averaging 16.5 points and eight rebounds per game. This season alone, he has scored 412 points, while averaging 2.3 assists, 7.8 rebounds per game and was 71.4 percent from the free throw line.
“I’m proud of how I performed personally,” Lohneiss said. “As a team, I’m proud of us. No one really expected us to be this good.”
His performance this year did not go unnoticed, as he earned a spot on his first All-CCC team.
“He was the team MVP with some close seconds,” Southington head coach John Cessario said. “He was our leading rebounder and scorer. He was one of four captains and I could read you his resume over and over again. He’s just a tremendous, tremendous kid. He’s a hard worker in an out of the classroom.”
What has made Lohneiss development on the court particularly impressive was the fact that he didn’t play much structured youth basketball growing up. Lohneiss was a recreational player and didn’t get involved in the game until he was about 11 years old.
He then tried to get involved in the travel team when he was in eighth grade, but unfortunately didn’t make the team. That’s when the Blue Knights program came into play.
“He got involved with us when we first took him on four years ago,” Cessario said. “He latched on and believed and bought in and became so committed that he’s a true definition of what hard work brings to an individual. He’s a self-made-player, who bought into what we were trying to do.”
And while Lohneiss saw plenty of improvement in his game during his four years at Southington High School, the one thing Cessario has noticed the most about he senior, was his confidence and work ethic.
“He basically did things to transition himself from an 11 point a night guy, to an 18 [a point a night guy],” the head coach said. “He’s got a nose for the ball meaning, for a smaller guy, he was really able to get a lot of rebounds. And I think a lot of it had to do with him knowing his body. He worked so hard. He really worked hard. In four years to make himself what he is, I just know that there is no facet that he wanted to leave untouched. Having gotten to know him for four years allows me to say he is one of the best players I have ever coached. I think the ceiling is very high for him if we can get him involved into the right program.”
As for what that right collegiate program is, that remains to be seen.
“I’m looking at a few colleges and have narrowed it down to three,” Lohneiss said. “I like Western New England, Roger Williams and University of New Haven but I have decided it. I thought about playing basketball and I want to but, I’m just not positive yet.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org