SLEEPY EYE - Sleepy Eye St. Mary's senior Sean Mathiowetz is proud of his high school basketball career, one that sees him leaving as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,838 career points.
But while his athletic talents had a lot to do with that record, he also put in his share of hard work throughout his four-year varsity career at St. Mary's, and it showed this past season with the Knights.
Mathiowetz was once again the premier player in the area, unstoppable at times with the ball. Whether he pulled up from outside and hit a 3-pointer or drove to the basket, he always found ways to score.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Sleepy Eye St. Mary's senior Sean Mathiowetz (right) drives to the basket around New Ulm Cathedral's Jeff Osborne (10) during a game this season.
He led the Knights to a 23-4 record, averaging 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists per game. Although it's rare for a point guard to lead a team in rebounds, Mathiowetz found a way to do it.
He was named the 2013 Tomahawk Conference boys basketball player of the year and he also was named the 2013 All-Journal Boys Basketball Player of the Year, as voted on by The Journal's sports writing staff.
Mathiowetz dominated the voting and was the unanimous choice for player of the year. And while the individual records and honors are nice, they aren't the moments that stand out to him when asked about his senior year.
"I think just that, from what we lost last year, a lot of people said, 'Oh, well you didn't lose very much,' but we lost our next three scorers and I like how we came together as a team this year," Mathiowetz said. "A lot of kids stepped up and I think that was the most enjoyable part."
During Mathiowetz's four-year run at St. Mary's, the team's win total went from nine his freshman year to 10, 24 and then 23 this year. His surrounding cast over those years included teammate Kansas Adams, who scored 1,317 points in his four-year career, and Jordan Anderson, who finished his career with 988 points.
A family affair
Mathiowetz is the youngest of four children. All three of his older siblings have eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in their career, but Sean gained family bragging rights when he passed Molly's previous school record (1,709 career points) in February.
"A lot of people are just like, 'Wow'" he said. "There's a lot of kids scoring 1,000 points, it's a big deal, but it's not as big of a deal anymore. A lot of people are surprised that all of my siblings have scored over 1,000 points and I just broke my sister's record, I think people are surprised by that part of it. But it's pretty nice to say that my whole family is 1,000-point scorer."
And basketball, like the other sports, seems to be a big event for parents and past graduates of the high school. Many recent graduates still attend games and support the team.
"In our case, we're so small that some of us played varsity [with the older players] as freshmen and we're a little closer than I think most schools get," Mathiowetz said. "It's nice to see them come back and see them at the games and you're still friends. It's a small community, you don't have a lot of people to start out with, but when you get a lot of people in a little gym like Sleepy Eye [St. Mary's] and you play in front of them, its fun to be successful too."
What the future holds
Mathiowetz has been a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball. He's the rare athlete that can pick which one he wants to play in college, but he's not 100 percent sure of what he'll do just yet.
He may choose not to play sports in college and focus on academics, but there are still some options available.
"I'm either going to go to South Central [College] in Mankato and not play any sports, but I've also talked to MSU [Minnesota State University, Mankato] and I think I might go there next year to play some basketball," Mathiowetz said. "I talked to my brother [Matt] who played baseball at MSU, and he said that I was going to be surprised by all of the traveling and it's so cold. I like the controlled environment aspect. Just the atmosphere [at a Mavericks basketball game], I went to a few games and it was incredible of how many people go to those games and they're a really successful and competitive team."