All-Missota Conference honorable mention in 2009-10
FHS coach Shane Wyandt saw his under-sized 2009-10 team struggle to win the close ones. The Tigers finished 7-20 overall and 5-9 in the Missota Conference while losing seven games by six points or fewer.
The bad news is that four starters who accounted for 75 percent of that team's 60-points per game average--Kyle Winkelman, Conner Duffy, Justin Lavey and Michael Jolliff--graduated last spring.
The good news from the Tiger camp is that the 2010-2011 edition of Tiger basketball might be a little stronger across the board than last year's.
"I don't think we are great in any one particular phase of the game," Wyandt said, "but I think we can be solid in all areas.
"I think we have a hard-working group that will play a true team type of basketball."
Heading the group of 10 returning letterwinners is senior all-Missota Conference honorable mention post player Alex Michels who averaged 11 points a game and ranked as the team's leading rebounder as a junior.
Seniors Sebren Baer and Josh Ruthenbeck and sophomore Darren Beenken also saw extended varsity floor time last winter. Other returnees include seniors Andy Born, Zach Wallace, Sam Hanson and Elliot Fenske; junior Austin Bassett and sophomore Alex Chadwick.
Wyandt said several other hopefuls will be given an opportunity to win varsity playing time but it was way too early to see what his rotation will look like in January.
"We really don't know who will step up until we see it on the court," he said.
Wyandt listed three keys to a successful season: guard play, defensive rebounding and outside shooting.
"If we can be good in those areas, we will surprise some people." he said. "Guard play will be huge. We have to limit turnovers and get some scoring from the perimeter."
Wyandt picked Shakopee and newcomer Chaska as the pre-season favorites in the chase for the Missota Conference title and Owatonna as an early favorite to defend its Section 1 championship.
Tharen Johnson and Brian Ryba return to their respective junior varsity and B-squad coaching positions with Roland Bradley and Steve DeLuc sharing the ninth grade duties.
The Tigers open the 2010-11 campaign Friday night, Dec. 3, with a non-conference game against Rochester John Marshall at Tiger Gym.