BY JACK BULLOCK
The Crusaders and head coach Jeff Lueschen went 18-12 before losing a close game in the regional to end their season.

Lutheran held its own against Concord Triopia, losing 42-41 at the 1A Mason City-Illini Central Regional semifinals.

The Trojans went on to state, finishing fourth, while the Crusaders anguished.

Coach Lueschen lost a really good group of seniors last spring.

Hank Hayer, Russel Crifasi, Chris Morenz, Nick Vespa and Jake Griffth were all vital to the success in 2018-19.

But it is a new day and a new group for this mentor.

A combination of players with various degrees of experience return for Springfield Lutheran.

JT Wiegands, a 6-foot senior, along with 5-foot-11 classmate Brett Davis will get the first look.

A pair of juniors; 5-foot-8 Pat Vespa and 6-foot Isaac Groth are on the list as is 6-foot-2 sophomore Josh Mauney.

Off of the pine, Coach Lueschen will look for minutes from 6-foot-3 senior Adam White and 6-foot junior Nikko Boston.

A couple of freshman look promising; 6-foot Geno Daniels and 6-foot Wes Mullins should give the Crusaders some much needed depth.

“We have a good group of players this year. I have coached all of them except for JT Wiegands. So they know what we expect from them and that is playing tough defense and working together as a team and executing what their taught,” said Coach Lueschen, who enters his first season as a head coach after 13 years coaching with the last nine coming at Lutheran High at lower levels of the system. “All we want from them is to compete in practice and in the games. If they do that then positive things will happen.”

OUTLOOK – They will go through the experience pains early but hopefully the Crusaders will be a factor late in the season. They play in the MSM Conference, that has some good programs in it.

N25-30 New Berlin Turkey Tournament
Enrollment: 152 (1A)
D3 @ Hartsburg-Emden
Conference: MSM
D6 @ Jacksonville Routt
Colors: Navy Blue/Silver
D10 @ Pawnee
Head Coach: Jeff Lueschen
D13 Decatur LSA
2018-19 Won/Loss Record: 18-12
D16 @ Central A&M
State Tournament Result:
D26-30 Waverly Holiday Tournament
Lost to Concord Triopia, 42-41
J7 @ Petersburg PORTA
1A Mason City Illini Central Regional.
J10 @ Concord Triopia
a
J13-17 Sangamon County Tournament
a
J21 @ Lincolnwood-Morrisonville
a
J24 Edinburg-South Fork
a
J28 Carlinville
a
J31 @ Springfield Calvary
a
F1 Auburn
a
F4 @ Decatur Christian
a
F7 Mount Pulaski a
F11 Mason City-Illini Central a
F14 Mount Olive a
F18 South County a
F21 Athens a
F24-28 IHSA Regional TBD a