BENTON — Experienced and lanky were two qualities coach Troy Beachy talked about when describing the 2013-14 Fairfield High School boys basketball team.
“We have eight returnees and most of them played on the varsity at some point last season,” the coach said. “We have a tougher policy for players lettering than just dressing for sectional.
“The kids are lanky. Most of the players are over 6-0 and there are going to be times when we have a lineup on the floor that is all over 6-0. Length and athleticism are things you can’t teach.”
The Falcons finished 11-12 a year ago in Beachy’s second season as coach. The team posted a 7-3 record in the NECC.
“Teams like Westview, West Noble, Angola and Fremont are always going to be in the conference mix,” Beachy said. “The next step for our program is to be among the teams in the top tier of the conference. We want to be a team that is consistently in the run for the NECC title each year.”
Fairfield opens the season by hosting Wawasee Tuesday.
Two key returning Falcons are 6-3 senior forward Marcus Rodes (206 points) and 6-2 junior forward Joe Line (133).
“Marcus and Joe are the top returning scorers,” Beachy said. “We need consistent play from the two of them.”
Another key player is 5-10 sophomore point guard Mitch DeWitt (48).
“Having a freshman point guard is good for the future of your program,” the coach said. “Mitch is bigger, stronger and faster. He is coming off a good football season where he made a lot of plays. He is growing into the position.”
Other letterwinners are 6-1 senior center Thomas Martin (22), 5-7 senior guard John Stack (44), 6-3 junior forward Clay Bontrager (9), 5-9 junior guard Josh Stephens (119) and 6-2 sophomore forward Brock Goeglein (16).
“Thomas understands his role on the team,” Beachy said. “He does the little things like setting great screens.