Fort Fairfield gears up, forms strategy for new season

1 year ago

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — The Fort Fairfield boys varsity basketball team is coming into the 2022-2023 Class C North season with a number of young, but talented players.

The Tigers lost about five seniors to graduation and Coach Vaughn McLaughlin is not sure who the starters will be for Fort Fairfield just yet, but he has lofty expectations just the same.

“We are a young team with six freshmen and only two seniors,” coach McLaughlin said. “It will take us some time in competition to get used to the speed of the game, but we will work diligently to improve daily.”

McLaughlin started coaching boys basketball as an assistant coach with Larry Gardner in 1982. They worked together for three years before McLaughlin left to coach the Presque Isle freshman boys for one year. McLaughlin has been the coach for the Fort Fairfield boys varsity team for the last four years.

The Tigers finished the 2021-2022 season in sixth place in Class C North, getting upset by No. 10 Penobscot Valley in a preliminary round game.

“Not playing a very competitive Class C schedule makes it more challenging to compete with teams in central Maine that have more C teams that they can play,” coach McLaughlin said.

Members of the 2022-2023 Tigers team are seniors Blake Senal and Zach Gerhauser, with juniors Joel Cormier, Jake Beaulieu, Gabe Theriault, and Micah Daigle. Sophomores are Hunter Reynolds, Brett Senal, Ian Willard, and Michael Bruce as manager for Fort Fairfield. The freshmen are Josh Gardner, Fritz Gabot, Caydn Ala, Charlie Griffeth, Nicholas Oneal, Ethan Willard, and Graedon King.

Blake Senal has good shooting skills, along with Gerhauser being a rugged forward with excellent rebounding skills for the Tigers. Daigle is their power forward, but unfortunately will miss the beginning of the season as he nurses an injury, according to the coach. Cormier and Theriault have good ball handling and good accuracy with their shots.

Brett Senal runs the floor well on the court, while Ala plays an intense defensive game amongst the Tiger players with King having good speed to complement his shooting game and ball handling.

Coach McLaughlin expects Fort Kent will be a powerhouse again just like in the 2021-2022 season with Southern Aroostook — having won the Class D state championship last year — will also be tough to beat on the court.

“We have better than average speed and will be able to play good solid defense,” coach McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin will be watching his Tiger freshmen to see how they respond to plays for the other teams competing in Class C to determine the starting roster.