Outlaws return solid core of veterans to basketball court
Last updated 11/28/2023 at 11:38am
The Outlaws boys basketball squad finished last year’s season 14-14 (8-4 in league). They took third place in the tough Mountain Valley Conference, won a first-round state playoff road game, and battled the No.-1 ranked team in 3A in the round of 16, coming up just one game short from the final eight tournament. They return six experienced players from that team who will provide experience and leadership to the squad.
Returning players include Brody Fischer (senior), juniors Hudson Beckwith, Kale Gardner, Garrett Sager, Landon Scott, Diego Silva, and Levi Szesze.
Fischer shot 33 percent from behind the arc last season and was 53 percent overall from the field. He’s the tallest player on the team, has a nice skill set from the outside, and will be a match-up problem for other teams this season.
Coach Chad Rush said, “Brody stepped into a post position last year due to injury and did a great job in that role. This year we will look to Brody to provide leadership, be a three-point threat, and a rebounding presence on both sides of the floor.”
Beckwith is a player that provides hustle, defensive intensity, and is an offensive spark plug.
“Hudson will be asked to bring his hustle and intensity to the court each game, while providing a spark on the offensive end when the team needs it,” said Rush.
Gardner averaged 8.5 points, four rebounds, and two assists per game for the Outlaws last year, and was a Second Team All-League selection.
“Kale is a fierce competitor that works hard each game,” said Rush. “This season the Outlaws will look for Kale to provide court leadership and increase his ability to be the coach on the floor.”
Sager established himself last season as a player that could guard any position on the floor.
“Garrett’s strength and quickness were invaluable on the defensive end of the floor last year,” said Rush. “He’ll be asked to anchor the defensive side of the ball by continuing to provide his versatile defender mentality this season, while being an opportunistic scorer on the offensive end of the floor.”
Scott averaged 9.3 points, four rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game last season. He led the team in three-point attempts, and knocked down 30 percent of those tries.
“Landon has an uncanny ability to find ways to get to the basket and score,” said Rush. “As our leading returning scorer, we’ll look to Landon to provide a scoring threat from all over the floor, while setting up opportunities for his teammates when they present themselves.”
Silva averaged four points and two rebounds per game for the Outlaws.
“Diego is a player that has an endless motor and can be seen flying all over the floor,” said Rush. “He is our leading returning three-point shooter, and shot 36. 4 percent last season. Diego, with his great athletic ability, will be looked upon this season to provide much-needed rebounding on both ends of the floor while using his motor to be a threat in our transition game by attacking the basket.”
Szesze rounds out the returning players, and Rush noted that he is a player that has a sneaky way of finding scoring opportunities for himself.
“Levi improved his defensive skills last season and because of that will be looked to contribute on both ends of the floor,” said Rush.
New to the team this year are seniors Devin Coverdale and Rope Chew, and juniors Austin Dean and Oliver Bernhardt.
Coverdale has been with the Outlaws program for four years, and Rush noted that he brings a great “team first” attitude. Rush added that Coverdale works hard on both ends of the court and will look for him to provide that for the Outlaws this season.
Chew is currently recovering from a football injury and the timeline for his return to basketball is still unknown at this time. Rush stated that Chew brings a relentless effort on the rebounding glass and also has a great “team first” attitude.
Dean floated up to the varsity team later in the season last year, and Rush told The Nugget that they will look to him to provide a defensive mentality to the team with his great speed, quickness, and intensity.
Bernhardt also came up and played varsity near the end of last year’s season. He’s 6’2” and has versatility as a playmaker on both ends of the floor.
The Outlaws goals for this season are to continue to improve the team’s overall record while putting themselves in a place to contend for a top spot in the league and return to the state playoffs. The team will kick off their season with a road game at Burns on Wednesday, November 29.