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Victor Post
  • Boys Basketball: Experienced core leads Fairport

  • Red Raiders return their top eight players off last year's team that won 14 games. Fairport, who defeated Hilton in their season opener on Tuesday, plays Honeoye Falls-Lima in their first home game on Thursday.

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  • Scott Fitch began his 12th season as head coach of the Fairport boys basketball team last month. This winter he faces a dilemma he has never encountered in his coaching career.
    Fitch may not have enough minutes to dole out to all of his talented players.
    The Red Raiders enter this season with high expectations after returning eight of their top players from last year’s team that finished 14-5. Fairport also brought up several talented players from a junior varsity team that lost only two games.
    The Red Raiders opened the season with three games this week, including their home opener at 7:45 p.m. Thursday against Honeoye Falls-Lima. 
    “This is a good problem to have,” Fitch said. “I think there is a lot of excitement, we had a successful year last season and we return a lot of players. We know that there is work to be done because we finished by losing our first sectional game.”
    Senior Eli Jones was the team’s top scorer last year recording 16 points-per-game. Jones will start at center for the Red Raiders this fall.
    Joe Masino and Brian Sortino will start in the back court. Sortino is recovering from a wrist injury he suffered in the offseason.
    Junior Alex Doche, the team’s tallest player (6-foot-6), will look to build off a season where he averaged 11 points per game. Tyler LePore, Elijah Salstrom, Ryan Landers and Willie Wilson are also back from last year.
    “There is a lot of chemistry, and the guys are working hard,” LePore said. “We lifted together, we knew each other from the beginning so that helped us out a lot.”
    Depth should not be an issue for Fairport as they have 16 players on the roster. Fitch expects Eric Pries, Maleek Mason, Ben Wahl and Adam Pelusio to contribute in their rookie seasons.
    “I think our chemistry is our strength,” Sortino said. “Sharing the ball is going to help us and I think if we can keep doing that we are going to win.”
    The Red Raiders non-league schedule should have them prepared for the postseason. Fairport plays one of the top programs in Buffalo (Canisius), Syracuse (Utica-Proctor) and Albany (Albany Academy) and host Bishop Kearney on Jan. 3.
    A game against the Kings could be a possible sectional preview, as Kearney moved up to Class AA1.
    “It is one of the harder schedules I have played since we have been here,” Fitch said. “We are hoping that it is going to make us better when we play in our league and at the end of the season we will be successful.”
    Fairport isn’t the only Monroe County Division I team with high hopes this winter.
    Page 2 of 2 - Webster Schroeder returns several of their top players from last year including guard Mitchell Herman who averaged 15 points per game last winter. The Warriors were the Division I champions and sectional runners-up last season.
    League rivals Rush-Henrietta, Penfield and Webster Thomas also return multiple starters from last year.
    “They return everybody so it will be cool when we play them,” Masino said about playing Schroeder. “That will be a good rivalry, we all know each other. It will be nice to play them because they beat us in the league title game last year.”
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