SHERWOOD — Fairview’s boys basketball team had some talented players off the bench during the 2020-21 season.
They’ll be counted on to excel in a bigger role this year.
The Apaches, who have to replace all five starters and a solid senior class from a year ago, have four returning letterwinners to work with for the upcoming season.
“Obviously we lost four starters and with an injury, we ended up losing all five of them. But we’ve got some younger guys, they’ve been waiting their turn,” Fairview coach Bodi Kauffman said. “They’ve been waiting for a long time for this opportunity.
“I think they’re really excited about it, and obviously the experiences that they had last year hopefully will help them adjust quickly to their increased roles this year.”
Four four-year letterwinners, including first-team all-Green Meadows Conference performer Caleb Frank (12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds per game), Russ Zeedyk (honorable mention GMC, 5.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg), Luke Timbrook (7.0 ppg) and Cade Ripke (6.0 ppg), led Fairview to an 11-9 overall record (3-4 GMC) last season. Multi-year letterwinner Treyvon Hastings also picked up his diploma in the spring.
The cupboard isn’t bare, though.
Senior guards Jeffrey Smith (6-foot-3), Brady Karzynow (6-1) and Samuel Clemens (6-0), along with junior forward Brody Retcher (6-2), return after gaining valuable experience a year ago. Smith averaged 4.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game and Retcher 2.8 and 2.9, while Clemens and Karzynow contributed as well.
“We don’t have real big kids, but we do have some long kids so we’re going to try to use that to our advantage and get mismatches and try to exploit maybe some of those things defensively to help us also,” Kauffman said. “I think this team might shoot it a little bit better than what we had last year, so we’re going to try to find what our strengths are and stick to those.”
Senior forwards Daniel Hammons (6-3) and Isaac Shininger (6-0), as well as juniors Eli Shininger (6-2) and D’Andre Hastings (5-10), could make an impact as well for the Apaches.
Fairview finished last season strong by winning six of its final eight regular season games and going 1-1 in the Division III tournament (lost to Coldwater in sectional final).
Kauffman is hoping some of that momentum can carry over this year.
“Obviously, last year with football running as long as it did (Apaches finished as 2020 Division VI, Region 22 runner-up) and then we had some quarantine issues that kind of slowed us down, but I do think at the end of the year we were playing our best basketball,” Kauffman said. “That’s kind of our goal every year.
“We just want to get better every week, every day and the end of the season takes care of itself. We’re just going to try to get better every single game and every single day.”