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Frank captains All-Area team

FINISHING STRONG — Fairmont Cardinal post player Wyatt Frankgoes up for a reverse layup during regular-season basketball action against Blue Earth Area. The Bucs’ Sam Keister (45) watches the action. Frank has been selected as the 2020 Sentinel All-Area boys basketball player of the year. (Photo by Greg Abel)

In only three years playing basketball, Wyatt Frank has become a consistent power in the post.

Frank said he was drawn to start playing basketball in high school because of his teammates.

“I liked the teammates that I would have and (Head coach Jared) Thompson said he would have plans for me on varsity in the future,” Frank said of his decision to start playing basketball as a sophomore. “I like just going out and playing in front of our fans and just having fun on the court.”

Frank helped control the Fairmont Cardinal offense through the 2019-20 season, scoring more than 30 percent of the team’s total points, with 501.

“I have to thank coach (Johnny) Olson for development over the past three years,” Frank said of his scoring ability. “He always works on post moves with me while everyone else is shooting.”

Fairmont head coach Jared Thompson said Frank was a necessary piece in the Cardinals’ success this season.

“Statistically, Wyatt meant a lot for us,” Thompson said. “He led us in scoring and rebounding, defensively he was a force because he could erase a lot of mistakes with blocked shots and rebounds. … More importantly though, he set the tone for us effort-wise. He played so hard all the time, when your leading scorer and rebounder is playing that hard, it sets a positive tone for your team.”

Along with covering up mistakes on defense, Frank used his size to consistently give the Cardinal’s second chances with 120 offensive rebounds, marking almost half of his 273 total boards this season.

The 6-8 senior center also patrolled the paint for the Cardinal defense, more than doubling the next Fairmont toal with 43 blocks, while also pocketing a second-place team total of 23 steals.

Though he has only played two full seasons on varsity, Frank already ranks highly in Cardinal basketball history in points and rebounds.

Frank finished his career 11th in Fairmont history in scoring and fourth in rebounding.

“He only played 56 varsity games, which is not a lot in today’s world,” Thompson said. “Usually a lot of your leading scorers and rebounders have played varsity for at least three years, but Wyatt really only got two. He still finished 11th on the all-time scoring list and he only played 56 games. Only Tim West played less games and scored more points and he was an all-american at Morningside. Wyatt finished fourth in career rebounds in only 56 games, that’s impressive.”

As a senior, Frank has spent time considering if he should continue his basketball career. Frank said he would like to continue playing, but his career aspirations are more important. He said he’ll be attending Central Lakes College in Brainerd because of its program in heavy equipment operation.

Thompson said he’ll remember one thing about Frank’s high school career above the rest.

“He was a big supporter of other peoples’ successes,” Thompson said. “We would have fun watching film of games, just watching how hard he cheered for the other guys when they were in. … He had a genuine support of his teammates.

“The joy that Wyatt played the game with, I don’t think anybody has enjoyed playing more than he has, he just loved to play. He was the last one out of the gym most days. During B-squad games, he’d be sitting and cheering those guys on, he played basketball with all our little guys in camp, just in a full sweat while messing around. I think the joy he played the game with is what I’ll remember most about him.”

Frank helped lead the Cardinals to a 17-10 record and an appearance in the Section 3AA South Sub-Section championship game.

For his senior season success, Frank has been named the Sentinel All-Area basketball player of the year. Here’s an inside look at the rest of the all-area team.

Wyatt Geistfeld (MCW) — The senior standout completed his prep basketball career in grand fashion.

Geistfeld scored 506 points this season, for 18.7 points per game, helping build to his 1,444 career points. This is Geistfeld’s fourth year on the Sentinel All-Area team and his second consecutive all-Valley Conference first-team selection.

The Mavericks’ leader in four statistic catagories, Geistfeld contributed 222 rebounds, 78 steals and 116 assists to the Martin County West 18-9 season. The only catagory Geistfeld didn’t lead the team in, blocks, he finished second with 32.

The senior hit 170 of 347 — 49 percent — shots from two-point range, 23 of 78 — 29 percent — from 3 and 97 of 159 — 61 percent –from the free throw line.

Along with his nearly 1,500 career points, Geistfeld finished his four years on the MCW varsity team with 808 rebounds.

Zach Anderson (MCW) — The freshman standout helped control the low post for Martin County West.

Anderson led the Mavericks in blocks with 38 while earning his first all-Valley Conference selection and first time on the Sentinel All-Area team.

In his varsity debut season, Anderson scored 289 points for 10.7 points per game, as well as grabbing 191 rebounds, or 7.1 per game, for second on the Mavericks’ roster. Anderson added 59 steals and 44 assists, while shooting 100 for 191 — 52 percent — from two-point range and made 80 of 94 free throws for 85.1 percent.

Adam Heckman (TMLGHEC) — The 6-5 sophomore continued his progression in the post, gaining his second all-Valley Conference selection as well as his second all-area spot.

Heckman by far led the Jaguars in points scored with 520 while shooting 180-for-266 (67.6 percent) overall from the field.

Heckman’s production wasn’t only from the paint, he added the third most made 3s on the team with 23 out of 58 for 39.6 percent.

Heckman controlled the post with 265 rebounds, leading by more than 160 over the Jaguars’ next main rebounder, while leading TMLGHEC with 68 blocks.

Heckman added 48 assists and 38 steals through his sophomore campaign, helping lead the Jaguars to a 19-9 overall record.

Cam Anderson (BEA) — For the second consecutive year, the junior guard controlled the Blue Earth Area offense.

Anderson scored 16.3 points per game for 391 points on the year, while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3. Anderson brought down 4.6 rebounds per game, while dishing out 48 assists and tipping away 41 steals.

The two-time all-Big South Conference choice and all-area selection helped lead the Bucs to a 14-11 record and an appearance in the Section 2AA South Sub-Section championship.

Robert Ortman (NU) — The 5-11 senior powered his way to a team-leading 219 points and 137 rebounds, more than doubling the Warriors’ next player in boards.

The all-Top of Iowa Conference West honorable mention added 37 assists and 30 steals, while shooting 81-for-250 from the field and 29 of 86 from 3. Ortman also led the team in free throw shooting, sinking 28 of 42 attempts for 66.7 percent.

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