Winning the Owensville Boys Basketball Tournament and being named the most valuable player is all Cullen VanLeer knows.
A junior, VanLeer has le d the Indians to the tournament crown and earned MVP honors in each of his first three years.
“It’s another accolade that my team helped me get,” VanLeer said. “Everything comes together when you have a team-first mentality.”
VanLeer, a 6-4 guard, scored 79 points in three games for an average of 26.3 points per contest.
He had 33 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in a 79-51 semifinal win over Linn and 27 points in a 55-44 victory over Sullivan in the championship contest.
“It’s cool that Cullen has been MVP three times, but it’s a team award. The team comes first,” said John VanLeer, Pacific’s coach and Cullen’s father.
Also representing Pacific on the all-tournament team were senior guard Tanner Brown and freshman guard Jacob Klenke.
Brown was a first-team selection and Klenke was given the sixth-man award. Brown has been on the all-tournament team for two straight seasons.
“It’s awesome, a great honor. I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” Brown said. “Our chemistry is great. I think this is going to be the best year we’ve had in a long time.”
Brown praised the performance of VanLeer in the tournament.
“Cullen is the smartest basketball player I’ve ever been around,” Brown said. “He knows the game better than anybody. He sees things that other people don’t see. He knows what’s going to happen before it happens. His skill set isn’t bad, either.”
Joining VanLeer and Brown on the all-tournament first team were Sullivan senior Justin Biermann, Salem senior Cody Whitaker, Cuba senior Taylor Thompson and Hermann senior Craig Winkelmann.
Second-team selections were Sullivan senior Chris Erxleben, Linn seniors Jesse Wiggins and Sam Vogel, Salem junior Logan Pogue and Cuba senior Ryan Bouse.