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Fairmont boys hoopsters look to better record

TIPOFF TIME — Members of the Fairmont Cardinal boys basketball team tipping off the season by traveling to Montgomery on Friday, Dec. 1, for a non-league game against Tri-City United include, front row (left to right): Trevor Maakestad, Ian Hatfield, Logan Junkermeier, Levi Pooley, Hadan Toomer and Oliver Tordsen. Middle row: Harmon Schrunk, Allon Chen, Joseph Hackett, Landon Gilbertson, Blaze Geiger and Nolan Hanson. Back row: Manager Josiah Hoye, Tavian Harvey, Hudson Laven, Brett Williams, Ben Moeller, Nolan Schultze and Joe Long. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Fairmont boys basketball practice just got underway and that means the new season is right around the corner.

The Cardinals return most of their squad from a year ago and look to compete for a section title.

Levi Pooley returns for his senior season after leading Fairmont in scoring during 2022-23. Pooley averaged 14.3 points per game as a junior to go with 5.5 rebounds and a team-leading 31 total steals on the year.

“You know the strength of Levi’s game is his ability to get to the basket, so I think there’ll be more space for him this year. That’s just kind of how our offense is set to be,” Fairmont head coach Jared Thompson said. “I think he’ll have more chances to attack off the bounce and that should just make his three-point attempts a bit easier for him than they have been.”

Pooley will look to help his team win while simultaneously having a chance to make the all-Big South Conference and All-Area teams again after earning a spot on both teams last season.

Coming off of a 7-18 overall record a year ago, the Cardinals expect improvement this year not only in their record but from some of their younger players as well.

“I’m excited about a lot of guys, so we have six guys back that at times last year were in the rotation, so that’s big,” Thompson said. “Hadan Toomer started for us last year as a sophomore and he was kind of a defensive stopper for us.

“I think his offensive game — he has put a lot of time into that this year and I think that will progress.”

Oliver Tordsen backed up his brother Sawyer Tordsen a season ago and played just 56 total minutes for the Cardinals, but will be asked to pick up a significant portion of the available post minutes this season.

“He’s (Oliver) grown a couple inches and gained a lot of strength. He played when we had some injuries last year and now that he’s a junior, I am really excited for people to see him play this year,” Thompson said.

Another name coach Thompson provided to keep an eye on was Nolan Schultze.

Schultze played as a rotational player last year but will likely be asked to play substantially more in the coming season.

According to Thompson, Schultze had a great summer but is battling a nagging injury which shouldn’t hamper his ability to get out on the court early this season.

Coming into the season coach Thompson believes his team has all the makings of a good team, it will just be a matter of how well the guys gel together as a group.

In terms of the rest of the coaching staff, Thompson has added a few new faces.

Former Cardinal players Carter Bell and Carson Toomer will be volunteering to help coach the lower level teams as well as helping out along with Thompson, Brian Wille and Tyler Brackey at the varsity level.

Coach Thompson knows that in order to have success, a coach always has to remain flexible.

“You know in high school basketball a lot of times your style of play is dictated by the players you have rather than recruiting to it,” Thompson said. “We have consistently been a really good defensive team and that has helped us compete every year, but I think this year the fans are going to enjoy watching us, we are going to pressure the ball and try and get up and down the floor.”

Fairmont tips off the season by playing nonconference opponent Tri-City United in a 7:30 p.m. game on Friday, Dec. 1, in Montgomery.

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