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Area coaches given honor

Eight area basketball coaches earned coaches of the year awards for their region, it was announced Thursday evening. Canistota's Pat Jolley, Corsica/Stickney's Mike Tuschen, Parkston's Rob Van Laecken and Winner's Rona Volmer were named head coac...

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Eight area basketball coaches earned coaches of the year awards for their region, it was announced Thursday evening.

Canistota's Pat Jolley, Corsica/Stickney's Mike Tuschen, Parkston's Rob Van Laecken and Winner's Rona Volmer were named head coaches of the year while Mitchell's Diane Way, McCook Central/Montrose's Jeff Heisinger and Avon's Jeff Wepking were named assistant head coaches of year. Freeman's Kristina Sage was named lower level Region 5-8 girls' coach of the year.

After nine years as an assistant coach with the Mitchell girls' basketball team, Diane Way was named the Region 7 girls' assistant coach of the year.

Way said she was a little surprised that she received the award.

"I appreciated it," she said. "My guess is I got it because I have been doing it that long. It was just about my turn.

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"If your name is on the ballot long enough, someone is bound to vote for you."

The Mitchell girls finished with a 15-10 record and reached the Class AA state tournament for the first time since 2004.

Tuschen earned the Region 7 boys' head coach of the year after leading the Corsica/Stickney boys' basketball team to the Class B championship game. The Jaguars beat White River 54-47 in the championship game and finished with a 23-2 record.

Tuschen said the award was unexpected and he is "kind of humbled by it."

"You are just excited that you are being honored because there are a lot of great coaches in our state and region," he said. "There are a lot of coaches that are deserving of it.

"We had some great kids that brought on a success year."

Jolley led the Canistota boys' basketball team to its first state tournament since 1958. The Hawks finished in seventh place in Class B with a 20-4 record to earn the Region 5 boys' head coach of the year.

Jolley said the award is a reflection of the players he had this year.

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"We had a lot of talent," he said. "We had an unselfish team and they were easy to coach. It was easy to come to practice everyday. They played hard and listened. It's a tribute to my players."

Van Laecken led the Parkston girls' basketball team to a 22-3 record in Class A as he was awarded the Region 7 girls' head coach of the year.

Van Laecken said it was the "fourth or fifth" time he has earned the award.

"It's a very nice honor when you consider the team in our region," he said. "It's a nice honor to be picked by your peers, and I am very honored about it. It's a tribute to the kids that we have, and you don't get these honors without good kids."

Rona Volmer was named the recipient of the Region 8 girls' head coach of the year after she led Winner to a 17-9 record and an eighth-place finish at the Class A state tournament.

Volmer could not be reached by The Daily Republic Thursday night for comment.

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