It was a split decision.
Laingsburg senior point guard Gabe Hawes and Perry senior forward Caleb Leykauf have been selected as The Argus-Press All-Area Boys Basketball Co-Players of the Year for the 2019-20 season.
Typically, The Argus-Press waits until the season has fully concluded to select its All-Area team. But the season was suspended March 12 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and it is unclear when — or if — it will resume.
In any case, Hawes and Leykauf were equally stellar this winter. It is the first time the award has been split between two players since Corunna’s Josiah Ehrbright and New Lothrop’s Dwight Brace shared the 2003 Player of the Year.
Both coaches, Laingsburg’s Daniel Morrill and Perry’s Mike Shauver, felt their player deserved the honor.
“Caleb is worthy of Player of the Year because every team we played knew he had to be stopped to beat us and he still averaged 19 points a game,” Shauver said. “He was face-guarded every game and could still score. He led us in rebounding as well as scoring. He had 10 20-point games, including two 30-point games.”
Hawes and Leykauf had remarkably similar scoring averages and were deadly from 3-point territory. Both led their teams to league championships and a berth in the district finals — games that, unfortunately, may never be played due to the COVID-19 threat.
Leykauf scored 414 points (19.2 points per game), while Hawes had 393 points (18.7). Hawes had more 3-pointers — 64 to 61 — and shot better from the arc, to 47 percent to 40 percent.
Leykauf had a big edge in rebounding — averaging 8.3 rebounds a game to Hawes’ 4.0. But Hawes had the big edge in assists and in steals while running the point (4.2 assists and 2.1 steals).
When Laingsburg and Perry collided on the court Jan. 27, the Ramblers won, 63-56. Leykauf hurt Laingsburg in the post with 18 points, eight rebounds. Hawes did his damage from the perimeter, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring 19 points.
Morrill felt Hawes — with his shooting numbers and work ethic — was the best player in the area.
“Gabe ran the point for us all year and that’s really not a natural position for him,” Morrill said. “He’s 6-foot tall, maybe 6-foot-1, about 195 pounds and has always played a two-guard, three-guard, shooting guard spot. He tinkered with the point just a little bit last year, but became our full-time point guard this year.
“The most impressive thing about Gabe this year, to me, was his field goal percentage. His overall field goal percentage was 56 percent — that includes everything. And after 19 games, even from the 3-point line (60-for-120), he was averaging 50 percent, which is unheard of.”
Hawes said even if the season doesn’t resume there are a lot of special memories he’ll never forget.
“Some of my favorite memories would probably start in the summer — just when we’d get the whole team together and have an open gym or when we’d go to team camps, stuff like that. Just, kind of the build up to the season was one of my favorite parts and then, winning the league obviously, was another fun part, and when we beat P-W for the first time at home.”
Hawes said he improved his passing and ball-handling the most this season.
“This year probably what I focused on, because I’m playing a little more point guard this year, so I really worked on my passing and kind of getting my teammates involved and getting them shots first and then working on myself.”
Leykauf said it was a season to remember for him and the Ramblers.
“My biggest accomplishment this year would have to be how we won back-to-back league championships … And for myself, I would say getting 1,000 career points, 61 (3-pointers) in a season, which broke a school record, scoring 30 points in two of my games were nice, and averaging 19.3 points in a season.”
Leykauf said the Ramblers could have perhaps also won a district title if they had gotten past Ovid-Elsie a second time this season. When asked about his biggest improvement as a basketball player, Leykauf said there were a few areas that came to mind.
“I think I improved on my defense and learning how to not just be a shooter but a scorer, too.”
BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM
Co-Players of the Year
Gabe Hawes, Laingsburg
This is the first All-Area selection for the 6-foot-1 senior guard. He moved to point guard from shooting guard and averaged 18.7 points per game. He helped Laingsburg share the Central Michigan Athletic Conference championship and earn a berth in the Division 3 district championship game. That game, against Bath, is currently on hold due to coronavirus concerns. Hawes is Laingsburg’s first Player of the Year since Jake Zielinski in 2013 and the school’s record-tying fifth overall (Corunna).
Caleb Leykauf, Perry
The senior forward led the area in scoring at 19.2 points per game. He shot 51 percent from the field (99 of 194) and 40 percent from 3-point territory, adding 1.3 blocks per game. The 6-foot-4 forward also was a force on the boards, pulling down 8.3 rebounds per game. His 61 3-pointers were a school record. Leykauf was named an All-Area first-teamer for the second straight season. He’s the first Player of the Year from Perry since Jordan Sipkovsky in 2006.
Leykauf, who has 1,011 career points, led Perry to a Greater Lansing Activities Conference co-title with Leslie and Stockbridge. Perry was set to play Ovid-Elsie in the district finals before the suspension of the postseason.
Shayne Loynes, Ovid-Elsie
The senior point guard averaged 17.7 points and 5.5 assists and also made 54 3-pointers, shooting 39% from beyond the arc. Loynes added 2.5 steals and 3.1 rebounds per game. Loynes helped lead the Marauders to the outright Mid-Michigan Activities Conference championship and a berth in the district finals. He and teammate Justin Moore had a hand in 56 varsity wins, a school record.
Justin Moore, Ovid-Elsie
The senior 6-foot-3 center scored 16.6 points and grabbed 10.9 rebounds. A strong inside presence, Moore shot 59 percent from the floor (139 of 236), adding 2.0 steals and 2.2 assists per game. Moore and Loynes both made a big leap this year to first-team status after earning honorable mentions last season.
C.J. King, Perry
The senior point guard handed out 6.6 assists per game, adding 9.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 steals. He ranked second on the Perry team in rebounding despite being only 5-foot-9. King finished second all-time in assists at Perry and owns the school record for steals in a game with nine. It’s his third All-Area selection after earning second-team and honorable mention the previous two seasons.
Avery Moore, New Lothrop
The senior guard-forward played all five positions on the floor at some point, but anchored New Lothrop’s defensive zone in the middle. Moore led the team in points (10.3 points per game), rebounds (6.9 per game), assists (4.3 per game) and blocks (3.0 per game). He helped New Lothrop finish 18-4 and, according to head coach Brady Simons, was the best defender in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference, where he was a first-team all-league pick. Moore made All-Area for the third time, previously earning second-team and honorable mention status.
Josh Green, Byron
Green, a senior guard, averaged 17.3 points per game for the Eagles. He totaled 362 points, adding 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals. He made 43 3-pointers. Green was a unanimous first-team all-MMAC selection. This is Green’s first All-Area selection.
Zach Hawes, Laingsburg
The 6-foot-3 junior guard averaged 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He sank 44 3-pointers while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc. Hawes, like his older brother Gabe, was a first-team all-CMAC selection and a first-time All-Area pick.
Cole Mieske, Corunna
The 5-foot-10 junior point guard averaged 14.3 points per game with 3.9 assists, 2.8 steals and 3.0 rebounds. He led Corunna with 37 3-pointers while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc. He played nearly 32 minutes per game and was also at the front of Corunna’s press, the most demanding position. Mieske, an All-Area honorable mention last season, was a second-team Flint Metro League Stars pick.
Jaylen Jones, Durand
The senior point guard averaged 11.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.8 steals. Shooting 49 percent from the floor, he also shot 46 percent from 3-point territory. He was a second-teamer in the MMAC.
Rae’Quonn Parham, Chesaning
The senior forward averaged 12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Parham added 2.0 steals and was a first-team MMAC pick.
Hunter McGowan, Morrice
The Morrice senior averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 75 percent from the free throw line. He added 52 3-pointers on the season, a school record, along with 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals.
Eddie Mishler, Owosso
Peyton Smith, Morrice
Carson Socia, Corunna
Luke Birchmeier, New Lothrop
Ty Kohlmann, New Lothrop
Brodie Crim, Perry
Aaron Hurst, Ovid-Elsie
Chandler Cleveland, Durand
Imari Hall, Chesaning
Braden Hoffman, Byron
Argus-Press Boys Basketball Players of the Year
2020 — Caleb Leykauf, Perry, sr. and Gabe Hawes, Laingsburg, sr.
2019 — Kyle Hulett, Byron, sr.
2018 — Carson Vincent, O-E, sr.
2017 — Carson Vincent, O-E, jr.
2016 — Cam Pope, NL, sr.
2015 — Jalen Weekley, Owosso, sr.
2014 — Griffin Lewis, Morrice, sr.
2013 — Jake Zielinski, Laingsburg, sr.
2012 — Robbie Geoghegan, Owosso, jr.
2011 — No team selected
2010 — Justin Carsten, Owosso, sr.
2009 — No POY selected or specified
2008 — No POY selected or specified
2007 — No POY selected or specified 2006 — No POY selected
2005 — Jordan Sipkovsky, Perry, so.
2004 — No POY selected or specified
2003 — Josiah Ehrbright, Corunna, sr. and Dwight Brace, New Lothrop, sr.
2002 — James Kurrle, Corunna, sr. and Joe Schramm, Laingsburg, sr.
2001 — Kris Krzyminski, Corunna, jr.
2000 — No POY selected or specified
1999 — Josh Hrcka, Owosso, sr.
1998 — Randy Seling, Byron, sr.
1997 — Brandon Woodworth, Laingsburg, sr.
1996 — Jason McCarthy, Morrice sr.
1995 — No POY selected or specified
1994 — Jason Shafer, Byron, sr.
1993 — Brandon Lardie, Perry, sr.
1992 — Josh McCarthy, Corunna, jr.
1991 — Kurt Brown, Laingsburg
1990 — Brent Molnar, Chesaning, sr.
1989 — Lynn Price, Corunna, sr. and Andy Ballagh, NL, sr.
1988 — Kevin Murphy, Durand
1978-1987 — No team chosen
1977 — Ron Jacobson, Byron, sr.