Jake Bertemes understood the moment as he and his teammates waited to take the floor at UD Arena for a district final, and he wasn’t going to waste a minute.
While his coaches watched the nets be cut down from the previous game, Bertemes, a senior, was with his teammates going over the scouting report one last time. He wanted to help Southeastern win its first district tournament since 2002.
“He’s such a great leader,” junior teammate Andrew Lyons said. “He’s always helping us out, telling us where to go.”
Where the Trojans went that night was up the ladder to cut down the district nets after defeating Fort Loramie in one of the greatest victories in Southeastern history. And Bertemes had one of the great performances in school history with 33 points and numerous clutch baskets.
The Trojans’ 23-4 magical season got better Monday night at Wittenberg. Bertemes won the Dan Hoyt Mr. Basketball award as the best player in Clark County. His head coach, Brian Hecker, won the coach of the year award in his second season at Southeastern. As is customary, Hecker was invited to the podium to make the Mr. Basketball presentation. That’s when Bertemes realized he was the winner.
“It was kind of like a rush,” Bertemes said. “There were nine other guys deserving of this. I’m really blessed that all the coaches saw the work I did this year. I wish the rest of my teammates could be here to see this.”
Those other nine players that make up the All-County team are seniors Darius Harper (Springfield), Malik Quisenberry (Tecumseh), Seth Gray (Shawnee), juniors Danny Davis (Springfield), Michael McKay (Springfield), Jordan Bailey (Kenton Ridge), Casey Hayes (Northeastern), Lyons and sophomore Darius Quisenberry (Tecumseh).
The Southwestern Officials Association sportsmanship awards went to first-year Northeastern coach Nathan Warner and Tecumseh senior Caleb Linder.
Bertemes averaged 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and scored 1,224 career points. He expects to play in college and study engineering. He hasn’t decided where.
But it’s his leadership, as evidenced by his actions at UD, that his coach loves to talk about.
“As a high school player I was not the leader he was,” Hecker said. “The maturity that he has — and I think people heard it here tonight when he was speaking — is unparalleled in the way that he has grown in the past year.”
Bertemes said his best high school memory will be the district title victory, and he wasn’t on the floor at the end because he fouled out early in overtime. He became the loudest cheerleader in the arena.
“Just the win — nothing else,” Bertemes said. “I could care less what else happened. It was the best feeling I’ve had.”