Lonergan reaches new heights on the court

Seamus David Lonergan is an easy name to remember, especially for District 11-5A basketball opponents. Last year, Lonergan burned competitors for nearly 17 points per game.

Sea (pronounced “Shay”), as he’s better known, returns for his senior basketball season at Lake Highlands with his trademark smile and enthusiasm intact. And with a little luck, he’ll help lead the Wildcats back to the district playoffs.

Early this season, Lonergan was averaging 19 points and eight rebounds per game, including a 29-point performance against Garland during the recent Coca-Cola tournament, despite a foot injury that sidelined him for several weeks.

Ask Lonergan any question about basketball, and his expressive face lights up like a Christmas tree. With his Chris Mullin crewcut and an equally deadly right-handed jump shot, it’s easy to see he’s a basketball junkie.

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Off the court, Lonergan tunes into an occasional television show. “Mad About You” and “Home Improvement” head his most-watched list, along with “Cheers,” one of his all-time favorites.

But he spends most of his time on the basketball court or deciphering calculus problems, although he says girlfriend Sarah also merits serious off-court consideration.

Down the academic road, Lonergan wants to major in medicine and engineering, hoping to build artificial limbs for accident victims.

But when asked what he would do if he had a whole day with no responsibilities, he barely hesitates before responding: “I’d play basketball all day,” as if there is no other answer.

But there’s much more to Lonergan than dunking, dribbling and playing defense. The 6-foot-5 senior forward carries an impressive 99.79 grade point average. His junior totals of six rebounds, three steals and five assists per game pale in comparison.

That’s part of the reason Dartmouth College, Trinity and Harvard universities have expressed interest in recruiting Lonergan.

“Sea is dedicated to everything he attempts,” says coach Jimmy Roe. “That’s why he’s one of our captains this year. I’ve never coached a player who’s improved so much in three years.”

Last season, the Wildcats finished second in the district to Plano behind a redwood-like front line that stood 6-10, 6-8 and 6-7. Armed with a shorter run-and-gun outfit this year, Roe is counting on Lonergan to provide more board work.

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“I love our new running offense,” Lonergan says. “Defensively, I’ve got to pick it up a notch this year. I’m just an average leaper, but my anticipation helps me in the paint.”

With just 180 pounds scattered loosely on his lanky frame, even a steady off-season routine of lifting weights hasn’t put much bulk on Lonergan.

“I guess I come from a thin, wiry family,” he says with a patented ear-to-ear-grin.

“I’m not sure where I get my height and these size-13 shoes. I think my great grandfather was 6-7.”

Ever since third grade, the Lake Highlands native has played basketball with organized area teams. That experience has helped make him a clutch player.

“When the game is on the line, we like to go to Sea,” Roe says. “He finds another level at the end of the game, and that’s one of the factors that make him such a complete player.”

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