BY JACK BULLOCK
Coach Scott McElravy and his Mules “kicked” everything into high gear last winter.

Fairfield set school record in wins as they went 32-3 overall, won all three of their regular season tournaments (Capital Classic, Eldorado, Carmi-White County) and they snagged the program's 15th regional championship and the third for this head coach.

Three of the important players on last season's run are missing after graduating.

Brian Estes, Jayzale O'Neal and Reese Lee were starters on the successful run while three other key contributors; reserves Cody Cantrell and Logan Trent, are also gone.

However the Mule Barn isn't empty heading into 2019-20.

Coach McElravy will have two starters back as they look to defend tournament and conference titles this regular season and extend their postseason stay two games longer.

Five-foot-eleven senior 5-foot-11 senior Wyatt Gilbert and 6-foot-3 senior Kane Hixenbaugh were of huge importance as juniors to the Mules' cause.

Those two will have a lot of supporting help with 6-foot-3 junior Landon Zurliene and 6-foot-3 senior Luke Dagg adding some size to what the Mules bring to the floor.

Also the backcourt will also have depth as 5-foot-11 junior Noah McElravy (the coaches' son) along with 5-foot-11 junior Colin Massie and 5-foot-9 junior Blake Pruitt.

Upfront 6-foot-2 junior Brandon Lane and 6-foot senior forward Caleb Frymire will add to the reserve minutes.

“I'm really going to miss last years group but am really looking forward to competing with this team,” said Coach McElravy, who is a few wins away from the school's all-time wins' total. “We had a very good summer. We also added Pinckneyville (their shootout) and Nashville (Benton Shootout) to our already challenging schedule. Have two all conference picks back in Gilbert and Zurliene along with fellow starter Hixenbaugh. Have a solid group of 9-10 players again to pick from. Look for Dagg, McElravy and Massie to slide into bigger roles this year. Don’t have a lot of size but have good quickness and shooters. Everyone buying into their roles will be key for us to be successful this year.”

OUTLOOK – What will the Mules do for an encore? They have the pieces to the puzzle set and will start the year with another two day marathon at the Capital Classic. This team might even end up better than last year's club but the schedule looks to be much tougher. They are the league favorites without question and another 20-win campaign is a lock. They should have a say in who reaches the Carbondale Supersectional.

N29-30

Lawrence County "Capital Classic"
Enrollment: 425 (2A)
D7 Sesser-Valier
Conference: Black Diamond East
D10 @ Johnston City
Colors: Red/Black
D13 Eldorado
Head Coach: Scott McElravy
D17 Hamilton County
2018-19 Won/Loss Record: 32-3
D20 @ Edwards County
State Tournament Result:
D26-28 Eldorado Holiday Tournament
Lost to Teutopolis, 55-47
J3 @ Casey-Westfield
@ 2A Vandalia Sectional Final.
J10 Lawrenceville 1
J14 @ Olney Richland County o
J17 @ Carmi-White County l
J20 Carmi-White County Invitational l
J31 Johnston City l
F1 Pinckneyville Showcase l
F4 Wayne City l
F7 @ Eldorado l
F8 Benton "Rich Herrin Classic" l
F11 @ Hamilton County l
F14 Edwards County l
F18 @ Flora 1
F21 Carmi-White County q
F24-28 IHSA Regional TBD q