Senior Ty Christensen and junior Toriek Miller received the top honors during the Seymour boys basketball awards program Sunday night in the school cafeteria.

Christensen received the Barney Scott Memorial Award and was named the most improved player, while Miller was named the most valuable player and was recognized for his selection to the all-Hoosier Hills Conference first team.

Other award winners included junior Ryan Wieneke, who was named outstanding defensive player, and senior Isaiah Thomas, who received the TPW (Tough Players Win) award.

Owls head coach Kyle Clough said all four special award winners made major contributions to the team.

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Clough said Christensen “asked what he could do to get better.”

“For him to get on the court, he had to be a knockdown shooter, and he took that challenge,” Clough said. “During Christmas break, he worked hard. He has worked hard for everything he has gotten. He had breakout performances in our wins.”

His top offensive games were 22 points against Salem and 21 at Madison.

“Christensen is an incredible person,” Clough said. “He is the guy that you want your children to be like.”

Assistant coach Steve Bush presented Christensen with the most improved award.

“Our motto this year was ‘Grind2Shine,’ and he absolutely grinded it to get from where he was last year to tonight,” Bush said.

Clough said Miller did a lot of things from a basketball standpoint.

“I’m most proud of the way he grew as a person from last year to this year,” Clough said. “His next step is to be great, not only with his statistics, but as a person. He has become a well-rounded player. I’ve watched him progress, not only as a player but as a leader. We will depend on him greatly next year.”

Miller was the leading scorer in HHC games at 23.5 points per game. He topped the Owls in scoring overall at 17 points per contest and had high games of 32 against Franklin and 31 against Madison. He finished with more than 20 points eight times.

Assistant coach Brent Jameson presented Miller with the MVP award.

“He has a strong will to win, a desire to succeed and embodies what it takes to grow,” Jameson said. “He has dedicated himself in the weight room. He is a good offensive player and a lockdown defender.”

Miller and Wieneke were both team captains this season.

Clough said Wieneke has the qualities expected from a leader and was a player that could pull the team out of tough ruts.

“I am thankful to have him as a leader of our program,” Clough said.

Wieneke received the defensive award from Bush.

“He became much better defensively,” Bush said. “He separated himself from the other players.”

The TPW award was formerly known as the mental attitude award.

Assistant coach Jason Latz presented that award to Thomas and said he is the type of player that can take pain and afflict pain.

“He did a good job overcoming adversity,” Latz said.

Clough said Thomas displayed tremendous growth.

“It hasn’t always been easy for him,” he said. “He has helped me understand certain situations. Last year, I thought it would take awhile for him to be his best, but I thought he would get there before he leaves here, and he has. From a basketball standpoint, he has gotten the most out of his ability. He wanted to be challenged.”

Thomas, who earned HHC honorable mention, topped the Owls in rebounds and scored 14 points against New Albany and Bedford North Lawrence.

Other seniors recognized were Anthony Rork and Quenton Stoner.

Clough said Rork was as tough and gritty as any player he has ever coached, and Stoner was always doing something for somebody else.

“These seniors are special to me,” he said. “They are guys that made a difference in our program for the future.”

The Owls were 8-14 this season and won more games than the previous two seasons combined. The squad put together three- and four-game winning streaks.

“Our skill level has improved tremendously,” Clough said. “Our younger teams have improved. I’m proud of the direction this team has gone.”

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.