The Gazette Boys' Basketball 3A-A Peak Performer of the Year: Justin Engesser, CSCS

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Photo - Colorado Springs Christian School's Justin Engesser celebrates after scoring to go up 53-49 in the fourth period of their 57-53 win over Denver Schience and Tech Stapleton in the "Great Eight" round at the boys' 3A state basketball tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Colorado Springs Christian School's Justin Engesser celebrates after scoring to go up 53-49 in the fourth period of their 57-53 win over Denver Schience and Tech Stapleton in the "Great Eight" round at the boys' 3A state basketball tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

The numbers tell the story of Justin Engesser, the statistical all-around leader.

That's not the player who will be missed the most next season.

"We're going to lose an assistant coach," said Mark Engesser, Justin's father and Colorado Springs Christian School boys' basketball coach. "I saw that out of him when he was in the eighth grade. He knew how to execute the game plan and coached everyone on the floor. He'd be good at coaching if he decides he wants to do it because that's what he was doing these last two years on the floor."

Basketball's answer to the five-tool player, Engesser led the Lions in scoring (21.7 points), rebounding (9.4), assists (6.2), blocked shots (2.5) and steals (1.8). And perhaps his sixth category, leadership, further elevated CSCS into a 3A powerhouse that claimed two state titles and came close another two times during his four seasons with the program.

The Gazette's Boys' Basketball Small School Player of the Year ended his CSCS career as the school's all-time assists leader and leaves with the most postseason points and rebounds in school history. He finished second to brother Nate, a 2012 CSCS graduate, in points and 3-pointers.

That versatility came as a necessity for CSCS, which over the course of two seasons lost 6-foot-9 Nick Doherty and Sam Howard, a 6-8 forward who earned honors as Small School Player of the Year in 2015-16, to graduation.

Suddenly, Engesser had to take his game and his 6-5 frame into a new area, well inside the arc.

"I knew going into this season that I was going to have to step up and make that transition to being in the post," Justin Engesser said. "It was fun banging people around down low and just learning the transition and further developing my game. I was willing to do whatever it took to win."

He'll take that same workmanlike attitude to the next level at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. He'll start over at the bottom, just like he did at CSCS, where he first he earned his stripes as a long-range specialist. He hit a team-high 72 3-pointers as the opposition concentrated on the Lions' low-post game with Doherty and Howard.

"CCU shoots a lot of 3s, and that's always fun," Engesser said. "I'm going to go in and learn my role. If I sit on the bench all season so I can learn, that's fine. If I play a lot, I'll try my hardest. I'm just looking forward to doing what I can."

Quite simply, Engesser evolved into a complete player on the court.

One who won't be missed, by the Lions' opponents anyway.

"He presented so many challenges for other teams," longtime Manitou Springs boys' coach Ken Vecchio said. "He's tough to prepare for, because he can shoot from the outside and use his athletic ability to get inside. He can do a lot of things, and he's tough to guard. As a coach, it was just fun to sit back and watch guys like Justin do great things. We've had a lot of talented players in our league over the years."