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Athlete of the Week – Chris Akelaitis

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ROCKTON (WREX) — Hononegah senior Chris Akelaitis is our newest WREX Athlete of the Week. Akelaitis has served as a steady presence for an injury-plagued Hononegah team that got healthy and hot at the right time to win a Regional title last week.

That was when sophomore Owen Hart beat the buzzer to lift Hononegah to a 54-51 Regional championship game win over East.

"It was just the best moment of my life, by far," Akelaitis said.

He says that without being the one to make the winning shot. That attitude permeates through this team and has allowed the Indians to find success late in the season.

"Everyone is not selfish," Akelaitis said. "Everyone cares about everyone else and everyone likes each other on this team."

Akelaitis can shoot with the best of them. Hononegah coach Mike Miller has seen a lot of good shooters come through Rockton, and he has high praise for his senior sniper.

"Chris Akelaitis has been awesome all year," Miller said. "I think he has 100 made 3s this season. He might be the best shooter I've coached."

Good shooting comes from good fundamentals.

"It's everything," Akelaitis explains. "It's form, how fast you get the shot off, your release. And how comfortable you feel with that shot getting it off at that time."

Akelaitis' positive mindset has helped his team stay on track even through tough times earlier this season.

"He just brings a lot of energy to the team when we're down," Owen Hart said. "He just makes big shots and keeps us into the game and intrigued into the game. He's always lifting us up and telling us we're not out of it. To have someone like that on the team is really good."

Akelaitis and the 8th seeded Indians extended their season with three wins in the Regional round last week. They hope to keep the magic alive into Sectionals.

Derek Bayne

Derek Bayne joined 13 WREX as the sports director in December of 2011. He grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved back to Illinois after working several years in North Carolina. For any sports story ideas or tips, you can email dbayne@wrex.com.

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