Things will look a bit different in the Buckeye Border Conference this season, but at Fayette, veteran coach Todd Mitchell will be on the sideline just as he has for the last two decades.
Mitchell enters his 21st season with a 228-220 overall record. The Eagles finished 10-13 overall and 4-8 in the BBC last season, though they did advance to the district semifinal.
They will lean on four returning letter winners as they attempt to improve on that record. A change in league play format could have an impact on that.
“The league will have a new feel to it this season with Holgate joining. We no longer have the round robin so only the second time we play a league opponent will count,” said Mitchell. “There are probably going to be as many as 3 or 4 teams in contention as we head into the last month of the season. Staying healthy and getting hot at the right time of the year will be key factors.”
Leading the returnees for Fayette will be senior guard Elijah Lerma. He was second team All-BBC and honorable mention District 7 last season, averging 12.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Also back is junior Kaden Frenn (5 ppg, 4.5 rpg), junior Skylar Lester, and junior Demetrius Whiteside.
“We have two starters and three players with varsity experience coming back. We will have strong guard play with multiple guys with point guard experience,” said Mitchell. “We should be able to create some matchup problems with our quickness and ability to attack the rim.”
Three of the Eagles top four scorers are gone from last season. They will need to replace the output of Phillip Whiteside (7 ppg), honorable mention all-league performer Eli Eberly (6.1 ppg), and second team All-BBC honoree Tanner Wagner (10.3 ppg).
Newcomers looking to fill the void include sophomore Wyatt Mitchell, junior Chase Moats, sophomore Xander Dunnett, and sophomore Hawk Brehm.
“This group of boys have a great passion for the game and are very coachable,” Coach Mitchell said. “If they continue to work hard every day and keep a positive attitude we will have a fun season.”