LYNNVILLE -- Two decades after playing the sixth-man role as a sophomore on the Tecumseh boys' Class A state basketball champions, Adam Lubbehusen is the head coach of a state-ranked girls' team at his alma mater.
The Lady Braves, after raising their record to 9-0 with Tuesday night's 64-54 Pocket Athletic Conference win over visiting Forest Park, will Thursday night travel to Perry Central as the No. 5-ranked team in the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association Class A poll.
This after an 11-12 record last season, and with a starting lineup of two seniors, a junior, sophomore and freshman.
"I expected good things this season. Our girls worked hard in summer, when we had a lot of practices and got to play a lot of games. They learned how to play together and they play as a team. They don't care who scores; they know that everybody in our lineup can score, If one girl is stopped, someone else can step in," said Lubbehusen, who graduated from Tecumseh in 2001 and then played four years of point-guard at Oakland City University, where as a senior he set Mighty Oaks records of 79 steals in a season and 195 in a career. Those records still stand. And his 197 assists as a senior and 412 for career both stand second.
At OCU he met the now Erin Joslin Lubbehusen, who started for the Lady Oaks, and he assisted in her four years as Tecumseh head coach. When Erin decided after the 2013-14 season to resign as head coach to spend more time with their sons, her husband became head coach. When not at home with their boys -- 9-year-old fourth grader Gunner, 7-year-old first grader Gaige, 5-year-old Gradee and 3-year-old Gabriel -- she serves as an assistant coach for her husband.
"Erin does a lot with our feeder program, and our girls can talk to her about things they don't want to talk to a man about," said Adam, who became a Pocket Athletic Conference cross country medalist at Tecumseh and also ran that sport for part of his college career.
"I've been around basketball almost all my life and wanted to become a head coach. Dad (Tom Lubbehusen) served as an assistant coach 27 years here, including our 1999 state championship season, under Coach Kevin Oxley. I used to come to the gym with dad. Now our four boys come to the gym with me.
"I'm blessed to have great assistants -- Erin, George Julian and Jaylen Oxley. Jaylen is married to Kreig Oxley, who played for his dad here and then played at Wabash Valley College and Kentucky Wesleyan."
Five-ten freshman Kaybree Oxley, distantly related to Kevin Oxley, who has guided the boys to 316 wins and 12 sectional titles at the PAC's smallest school, is averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds including 14 Tuesday points. Five-nine senior Dalina Meyer is averaging 13 points after scoring 15 including two threes Tuesday. Five-ten junior Chloe Holder, after 10 points Tuesday, is averaging 11. Five-six sophomore Gracee Sullivan, averaging 8, stepped up Tuesday with 17 including a trio of threes. Five-nine senior Kaitlyn Helfert, cousin of former Boonville and Oakland City University standout Ryan Helfert, is averaging seven after scoring six Tuesday on a pair of threes. Five-four senior Olivia Rudolph, in the sixth-person role, is averaging six. All the Lady Braves hit eight threes and made 19 of 25 free throws in Tuesday's win, when they rallied from a 28-24 late-first-half deficit by scoring 17 straight points.
"Coach Oxley was big on playing hard all 32 minutes. He stressed playing the whole game, and I stress that," Lubbehusen said.
"Every possession means something. You need a good shot every time. We didn't play 32 minutes tonight, but the girls stepped up in the third quarter with good full-court defense including traps. We've also rebounded pretty well.
"Coach (Mike) Sandifar at Oakland City was all about possession. You've got to get good shots. You work the ball into the middle or the post; if the shot isn't there, you bring the ball back out."
The Lady Braves' severest challenge came in a 45-44 win at Heritage Hills. "We trailed by 10 points with four minutes left, but the girls kept playing hard and made good things happen. Gracee made two free throws with 12 seconds left and we got a step after that," said Lubbehusen, whose Lady Braves own a 3-0 PAC record.
"Gracee, Chloe and Dalina started last season. They've had to blend this season with younger players. They've accepted our newcomers. It's still a learning process, since we had just nine preseason practices after volleyball season, but we can be pretty good."
The Lady Braves will be tested. On December 20 they'll visit Class A No. 4 Loogootee. Come January 5 they'll visit No. 7 Springs Valley, where the sectional will be played. January 10 they'll host a 3A Mount Vernon team that has won six of its first seven games. Two nights later they'll return to PAC competition at 3A Gibson Southern, and January 15 they'll visit Class A No. 2 Vincennes Rivet.
Lubbehusen is used to busy times. He and dad are co-owners and workers of a cattle, hogs and greens farm on the family homeland in northeast Warrick County. He also has worked three years at United Parcel Service. So it's only reasonable that he urges all Lady Braves to play all-out for 32 minutes.