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The Indians struggled to score a season ago, but Sims is optimistic that won’t be the case this year.
After finishing 7-16 overall and 5-11 in the Greater Miami Conference, the Tribe returns four key players on an athletic team which features five seniors and eight juniors.
“I think we will be a fun team to watch,” Sims said. “We have really good kids who are working hard.”
Entering his third season, Sims is trying something new with practices. The Indians only kept 21 total kids on the junior varsity and varsity squads, and they practice together.
“It is unique to practice together, but we feel we have some sophomores who can compete with varsity,” Sims said. “These kids are really pushing each other and making it a daily competition. The returning guys are being pushed, and they are chomping at the bit to get going.”
The Indians return All-GMC second-teamer Devin Turner, a 6-foot-3 senior who averaged 9.4 points and 6.1 rebounds a game last year.
Turner will get help inside from 6-2 senior forward Allen Caldwell, while junior guard Peyton Brown and sophomore Zavian Ricks will split time at point guard.
Fairfield coach Jeff Sims calls a play during a road game against Middletown at Wade E. Miller Gym on Jan. 3, 2017. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
“We feel like we have a really solid four, but now we just have to fill in some spots around them,” Sims said. “We are athletic, so we are going to try to spread the floor more this season.”
Sims said senior Steven Taylor’s return from injury will help the Indians.
“Taylor will help in the post, and Ricks and Brown can share point-guard duties as well as play the 2 (guard),” Sims said.
The Indians averaged 46.9 points per game last season and suffered from dry spells in losses, but Sims feels that is behind them.
“We feel like we can put five guys on the court who can shoot it and share the basketball at any time,” he said. “We will probably score early in the possession or grind it out and make a shot late in the possession. Last year we didn’t always take the best shot, and it is a work in progress. But we have a bunch of guys who work well together and they can score, so we are not reliant upon one guy.”
Defensively, the Indians will stay man-to-man, but Sims said his squad will press more full court to speed teams up.
“We would love to turn teams over before halfcourt and score in transition as we have some guys who can really put pressure on the ball,” he said.
Fairfield opens the season at home against Elder on Nov. 30.
“Our schedule is never easy,” Sims said. “There are no cupcakes.”
Coach: Jeff Sims (third season)
2017-18 Record: 7-16 overall, 5-11 GMC (seventh place, tied)
OHSAA Classification: Division I
Schedule: Nov. 30 — Elder, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 4 — Northwest, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 7 — at Lakota East, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 11 — at Oak Hills, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 14 — Mason, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 21 — Hamilton, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 28 — at West Clermont, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 29 — Western Hills, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 4 — at Princeton, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 5 — Kings, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 8 — Lakota West, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 11 — Colerain, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 15 — at Hamilton, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 18 — at Middletown, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 22 — Centerville, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 25 — at Sycamore, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 29 — Lakota East, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 1 — Oak Hills, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 5 — at Lakota West, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 8 — at Mason, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 12 — at Colerain, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 15 — Princeton, 7:30 p.m.