WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW: Fairfield boys have tall, experienced lineupFerretti, Hill join the team
Head Coach: Tyler Miklo, 4th year
Key Returnees: Landon Gamrath (Sr.), Vince Horras (Sr.), Joseph Hietpas (Sr.), Federico Ferretti (Jr.)
Outlook: The Fairfield boys have plenty of talent and certainly can finish with a better record than last year’s squad. Mount Pleasant will be tough yet again, and Fairfield’s schedule won’t do them any favors.
The schedule wasn’t kind to the Trojans last season.
Instead of searching for wins, Fairfield’s schedule was filled with 3A teams that were tall, long and bound for long playoff runs. A 16-point win over Chariton late in the season that snapped a seven game losing streak showcased just how tough the competition was. The Chargers were a 16-win team last season, but they also scheduled 2A teams for the most part. Once Fairfield got to play a team that wasn’t used to playing teams their own size, the Trojans had a distinct advantage.
That’s something Fairfield wants to avoid. Playing down just to get wins will earn teams swift exits come playoff time. The Southeast Conference only has five teams, meaning Fairfield had to find 13 out of conference games. If this were the BCS, the Trojans would have an incredible strength of schedule.
Road trips to IMS and Mediapolis, not to mention home games against Pella and Danville, highlight a robust out-of-conference lineup. Danville almost won the state title yet again, while IMS won 24 games. Games against Eddyville-Blakesburg and Mid-Prairie may be the only reprieve from the madness.
“A lot of times with games you schedule whoever you can get,” coach Tyler Miklo said. “We hit some bumps in the road last year. We felt that we improved a lot as the year went on, but as we improved the competition got tougher.”
The Trojans may have the lineup to contend this season, no matter how dangerous the competition is. Seniors Landon Gamrath, standing at 6 feet 9 inches, and Vince Horras, standing at 6 feet 6 inches, will clog the lane and attempt to keep layups from going down. The height doesn’t end there. Newcomer Federico Ferretti, outside shooter Joseph Hietpas, senior Matt Carr, sophomore Alex Crile, and freshman Cameron Baumann all have cracked the 6-foot barrier.
Hietpas ranked sixth in the Southeast Conference with 50 assists, and will likely be overlooked by opponents. The real hidden gem for Fairfield may be Ferretti, who was running the offense during Meet the Trojans. An exchange student from Italy, Ferretti brings a unique style of play to the court.
“He grew up just playing basketball,” Miklo said. “He’s a kid that a coach dreams about because playing basketball is all he wants to do. You’d like to have 15 of him.”
Senior leader Jordan Whitney, transfer student Laquan Hill and sophomore Jordan Reid will all play huge minutes for the Trojans as well.
As for the Southeast Conference, the Trojans should be able to navigate through it more freely this winter. Mount Pleasant has lost six seniors that were 6-foot or taller, including Faith Pope, a 6-foot-6-inch monster who led the conference in scoring.
“The whole conference has gotten smaller and more guard oriented, and we’ll be the taller team,” Miklo said.
It remains to be seen whether or not this will work to Fairfield’s advantage. Other teams could have trouble adjusting to the height of the Trojans, but the Trojans could have difficulties with faster teams that want to push the pace.
The boys will begin the year Dec. 2 against Oskaloosa.
Southeast Conference: 2012-13 Standings
Team, Conference Record, Overall Record
Mount Pleasant 7-1 19-6
Fort Madison 6-2 12-9
Keokuk 5-3 16-6
Washington 1-7 5-17
Fairfield 1-7 4-18
Fairfield 2013-14 Schedule Varsity Basketball
11/25 @ Mid-Prairie Jamboree
11/30 Team Scrimmage
12/2 vs. Oskaloosa
12/6 vs. Mount Pleasant
12/10 vs. Albia
12/13 @ Washington
12/14 vs. Pella
12/17 @ Davis County
1/3 @ Keokuk
1/4 @ Mediapolis
1/10 vs. Fort Madison
1/11 vs. Danville
1/14 @ Eddyville-Blakesburg
1/17 @ Mount Pleasant
1/20 @ Mid-Prairie
1/21 vs. Centerville
1/24 vs. Washington
1/27 vs. Williamsburg
2/1 @ IMS
2/7 vs. Keokuk
2/11 vs. Chariton
2/14 @ Fort Madison
2/17 vs. Ottumwa
2/24 District First Round