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By Scott Thien

Despite schedules and practices disrupted by COVID-19, the ISI boys closed out the 2020-21 winter sports season on a high note with records in both basketball and swimming.

In basketball, the 12-member squad went 8-9 for the season, which included a 53-50 loss to Bethesda Christian in the Class A sectional March 2 at Indy Metro. More notably, the team finished third overall in the 10-team Pioneer Conference, the best final conference standing in ISI history.

“Despite the adversity presented by COVID-19, and the two quarantines the team endured, we still were able to have a competitive season and keep players on the floor. That was a challenge in itself,” Athletic Director Joel O’Neil said.

Among the team’s highlights: ISI guard Jaden Thomas (No. 4) finished his senior season with a career total and school record 1,535 points. The 6-foot-4-inch Thomas, who reached the 1,000-point mark during the 2019-20 season, has accepted a sports scholarship to Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill.

In addition, several freshman players were brought up to backfill roster needs throughout the season. “Led by standout Philip Randolph, these players really showed their dedication to the sport, and they weren’t concerned about playing time,” O’Neil said. “They just wanted to contribute, and that speaks volumes about these players the hope of things to come.”

In swimming, the boys team finished eighth out of 11 schools in the ISHAA state sectionals February 18-20 at Pike High School in Indianapolis, a season finale that included a school record.

Sophomore standout Will Longfellow set a new school mark at the IHSAA meet with a time of 55.50 in the 100-yard backstroke. Longfellow narrowly missed moving onto the state finals with close second place finishes in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke.

Two other school records fell during the regular season. On January 16, Longfellow set the new mark in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:54.99, and on January 28 Alex Geppert set the new mark for the 100 fly at 58.01.

The five-member team also included Konrad Gossweiler, Yuichiro Murakami and Owen Rifkin.

“I have a feeling with this group we will have a whole bunch of new records coming through in the next few years,” O’Neil said. “The team as a whole achieved their goals. Their attendance and commitment to each other were unbroken and off the charts. That says a lot about this small group.”

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