SHABBONA – Kyle Lieving was not an immediate offensive stud growing up playing basketball.
The now 5-foot-9 senior point guard at Indian Creek made a name for himself on the other, less-popular end of the floor.
“I’ve always been a defensive player. I really like doing it,” Lieving said. “When I was younger I really wasn’t much of an offensive threat.”
Yet that started to change for Lieving toward the end of last year. The first-year starting pointing guard shouldered more of the scoring load down the stretch and led Indian Creek to the regional semifinals.
“He kept getting better and better,” Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz said. “He was averaging 10-12 points a game in the last five games of the season. He definitely started upping his game and contributing in even more ways.”
The added scoring option was a nice surprise for Indian Creek and Piekarz, who already relied on Lieving to do so much on the floor. He was the Timberwolves’ fourth-leading scorer last year, but was still named the team MVP.
“That shows a lot to his versatility,” Piekarz said. “He does so many other things for us that he deserved that award last year.”
In addition to running the offense, Lieving was Indian Creek’s primary ball-handler, carrying a lot of responsibility in breaking down pressure defenses. He also would match up defensively with an opponents’ best perimeter player in Indian Creek’s man-to-man defense.
The Timberwolves bring back four starters from last year and welcome in a group of juniors who won the Little Ten Conference as sophomores. Lieving says the familiarity with his teammates going into this season is a huge advantage compared to last year.
“Coming in as a new group we really stepped up and did some good things,” Lieving said. “We have pretty much the same squad coming in with a strong bench. There’s a lot to improve though.”