Boys Basketball

Linton-Stockton's big men could cause problems for Bowman

2013-03-19T21:30:00Z 2013-04-09T23:34:14Z Linton-Stockton's big men could cause problems for BowmanSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

Dess Fougerousse sums up his life pretty simply. The senior standout on Linton-Stockton's boys basketball team says his life isn't much different from the rest of his Miners, who will play in Saturday's Class 2A state championship game against Bowman Academy.

"I'm very, very country," Fougerousse said. "I grew up in Switz City where there were 200 people max. We had four businesses there. Then, in middle school, we moved to the big town, Linton. We have about 2,000 people here.

"We're country and we love playing basketball."

Fougerousse is 6-foot-5 and averaging 20.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. His court cohort is Austin Karazsia, a 6-foot-8 standout who is averaging 20.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.

The two have combined to set 15 school records in their careers.

In Saturday's 76-75 overtime win over Indianapolis Speedway, Fougerousse scored 33 and Karazsia chipped in 28 in front of 8.000 fans at Richmond.

"They're tough," Bowman coach Marvin Rea said at Monday's state press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. "We're going to have to be ready to play."

While these two standouts are as country as John Mellencamp's acoustic guitar, both have region connections.

Karazsia's father, Charlie, is the school's athletic director. He coached and taught at East Gary (Lake Station) from 1973-76, when an Indiana State football teammate, Rich Renn, put in a word for him as an Eagle at that time.

Fougerousse played for former Andrean star Dan Dakich on the Indiana Elite AAU team.

The Miners were undefeated in middle school with their big men leading the way. But when they got to high school things changed at the basketball crazy town in hoops insane Greene County, located in southwestern Indiana.

Linton-Stockton went 4-18 when this senior class were freshmen. That brought in coach Joey Hart and the slow turning began. As sophomores, they went 10-11 and lost the first game of sectionals.

Last year they went 12-10 and lost the first game in the sectionals,  again. Not quite the preview for the run this talented team made this year.

"High school basketball is huge in Southern Indiana," Hart said. "There are a lot of great teams in our area and we got tough draws in the sectional. But we weren't the team we needed to be. So we had a meeting last summer that changed everything."

Hart took both of his big men aside and said one hard statement.

"He told us we had to grow up," Fougerousse said. "We had a lot of mental issues (in 2011-12 season). I took what he said to heart. I grew up."

At 6-foot-8, Karazsia was the Miner's quarterback and led the state in passing yards the last two autumns, where he led Linton-Stockton to the semistate both years.

"My family's all about football," Karazsia said. "I'm the first basketball player in my extended family. Our team didn't clique until this year. It's been awesome. We had three goals this season, winning conference, (Greene County) invitational and sectionals. We got them all. That lifted a huge weight off our shoulders."

Karazsia's stock has risen, just like his team's. Eastern Kentucky, IPFW, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Indiana State have all jumped on the recruiting bandwagon, that's gotten heavier each Saturday this March.

While few around Indiana are giving the Miners a shot against Bowman, this team plans on being there and doing everything they can to climb another ladder.

"We like pressure, we're a small-town team," Karazsia said.

"Our team is a bunch of country boys," Fougerousse added. "We're as country as you can get. We know Bowman is good. But we believe we're pretty good, too. I expect it to be a great game."

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