Memory of late father carries Blaise Lewis on the court, in life

All Kewanee High School senior Blaise Lewis wanted to do was play high school basketball for his dad, Shaune, at Kewanee High School. Sadly, his dad passed away in July of 2020 and he never got the chance.

All Blaise Lewis ever wanted to do was play basketball for his dad’s Kewanee Boilermakers.

Coach Shaune Lewis had put his stamp of success on the Boilermakers program with his passion for the team and alma mater, winning two regionals and two conference championships with an overall 90-63 record from 2015-20.

A 1991 graduate and former player at Kewanee, Lewis took great pride in Boilermakers basketball and was well versed in its history.

Then tragedy struck on July 2, 2020.

While pursuing his other love of stock car racing, Shaune Lewis had a medical emergency behind the wheel. He passed away at age 47.

Blaise, who had just graduated from the eighth grade and was at the scene, was devastated along with his family and the Kewanee and Boilermaker communities.

No teenager should have to lose their dad.

“I always really wanted to play for him in high school. I played for him in AAU ball. He coached me in everything. High school was a really big dream of mine and I never got the chance,” Lewis said.

It’s been with a heavy heart that Blaise Lewis has put on the Boilermakers’ jersey that his dad loved so much. But he also knows his dad has been there with him every step of the way, literally, with one side of his shoe inscribed by “RIP Dad,” and the other with “AWGAWN,” for his dad’s favorite saying, “All We Got, All We Need.”

“It’s been hard at times, but I just know he’s there with me every step of the way I go and he’s guiding me and everything he taught me I’ve been using,” Lewis said.

Lewis said his dad taught him many life lessons for both basketball and the game of life.

“(To) be very passionate about every thing and just take it one step at a time, one day at a time and eventually you’ll get to where you want to be,” Lewis said. “And I’ll make him happy one day hopefully.”

Each season, Kewanee High School has a “Salute to Shaune Night.” This year’s night was Tuesday when the Boilermakers beat rival Princeton for an exciting 64-59 overtime win. Lewis said his dad would have loved the game.

“It’s pretty special Kewanee High School has been doing this for four years now. It’s good to get a big overtime win at Brockman in the last time we’re going to play here,” he said. “He would have loved it. He always loved playing Princeton and loved playing at Princeton. Beating Princeton is pretty good.”

Coach Lewis’ last game was against Princeton the 2020 regional semifinals at Chillicothe, a game in which the Tigers upset the Boilermakers 60-56.

Blaise Lewis said his teammates and the community have been real supportive and very helpful through this process.

“Teachers and everything. They know what’s going on. They’ve been nice. It’s nice to know that the Kewanee community is there if you need it,” he said.

Kewanee coach Matt Clark knows Coach Lewis would be proud of his son in many ways.

“Blaise has become a vocal leader and a player that is always ready to compete in practice and games,” he said. “I’m proud of how he has matured as a person over these four years coaching him. Blaise is a really good basketball player, but I think his dad would be even prouder of the young man he has become.”

Another passion Lewis gained from his dad was racing, which has been passed down the family.

“Grandpa started racing so my dad grew up helping him all the time and his brother all the time. He started racing and I was helping him when I grew up,” he said. “When he passed the opportunity came by that his best buddy had a race car and I figured I’d step in it.”

Blaise Lewis got his first win at Spoon River Speedway this past season and finished third in points standings.

When asked which adventure his dad would be most proud of, basketball or racing, he said, “Definitely basketball. I don’t think he would ever thought I’d be in a race car. I figured I’d jump in and get going.”

Just like his dad, in everything he did, full throttle, giving it “All We Got and All We Need.”

Kevin Hieronymus has been the BCR Sports Editor since 1986. Contact him at