Fillmore Central boys looking to turn things around

Bill Bentson

After going 0-27 in 2018-2019, the only way is up for the Fillmore Central boys basketball team.  First year coach Brady O’Connor is well aware of last year’s record and is up to the task. 

“My prognosis for the upcoming season is truly unknown, but we hope to play an exciting brand of basketball and to improve each week,” he said. “I hope to be highly competitive in the conference and the section.”

Returning from last year’s roster are: seniors Mason Berg, Hadie Williams, Ian Shupe and Cory Brown; juniors Trevor Hershberger, Zach Haugerud, Wyatt Breeser, Jeremy O’Connor, Carson Kiehne and Jecob Wood; and sophomore Haven O’Connor.  Newcomers to this year’s varsity are Haidyn Gunderson and Grant Kennedy.

While it looks like a lot of returning players, many of the younger players did not see much varsity action.  Haugerud, Berg and Shupe played in all 27 games last year.

Last year the team averaged 44 points on offense and gave up 69 points on defense.  The team shot 33.5 percent from the field, 25.8 percent from three-point range and 50.4 percent at the free throw line.  On the floor the Falcons averaged 27.1 rebounds per game, 8.2 steals per game and 9.9 assists per game.

Notable individual stats from last year’s final report: Haugerud, 5.6 points/game (146 total points); Hadie Williams 91 rebounds (4.3 per game); Ian Shupe 94 rebounds (3.5 avg.); Shupe 31 assists; and Haugerud, 24 assists. 

As far as three-point shooting, Haugerud had 23 and Brown 18. In free throw shooting, Brown shot 83.3 percent, making 20 of 24, and Haugerud shot 58.7 percent, making 27 of 46.

Players awarded Academic All-conference include Shupe, Jeremy O’Connor, Trevor Hershberger, Haugerud and Kiehne.

So, you can see that coach O’Connor has his work cut out for him.  He has some smart kids, as seen by the academic record.  If he can turn the academic IQ into basketball IQ, along with developing and improving their basketball skills, he can be competitive with the teams in the conference and the section, especially the Class A schools, which are all in Section 1A.

In the East Division of the Three Rivers Conference, O’Connor sees Caledonia, Rushford-Peterson and La Crescent-Hokah as the teams to beat.  In the West Division he likes St. Charles and Plainview-Elgin-Millville.  In the section he thinks R-P and Blooming Prairie are the teams to beat. 

“The section looks to be wide open, after those two, with many solid clubs,” concluded O’Connor.

The Falcons open the season Tuesday, Dec. 3, with a home game against Cotter.  The team also plays at home on Thursday, Dec. 5, against Lyle/Pacelli.  The team will travel to Luther College on Saturday, Dec. 7, with a game against MFL, Mar Mac.