The Grayville Bison got to a regional championship game last season, losing the finale at North Clay, 64-45, to Effingham St. Anthony.
Head coach Brian Hucker saw five senior starters graduate, including one of the all-time leading scorers in the school's history.
Kase Robinson ended his prep run with over 1,700-points.
His classmates Wyatt Hatcher, John Reeves, Grant Leavens and Aaron Davis are also gone from the 10-17 squad.
The Bison will rebuild with several eager cagers ready to wear the Red and Black.
Coach Hucker mentioned a bunch of players, which is a good sign from a small enrollment.
Six-foot-four senior Marcus Risley and 5-foot-8 Lincoln Armstrong have a chance to step into more minutes as will juniors Brandon Brendal and Billy Doan, 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-9 respectively.
Coach Hucker also mentioned five sophomores, all of whom are under 6-feet tall.
Five-foot-nine Cole Neeley, 5-foot-9 Austin Cowling, 5-foot-8 Austin Finch, 5-foot-8 Cameron Finch and 5-foot-7 Kenneth Funkhouser all will get a look in the opening practices for the 2017-18 season.
The Bison will also have a player new to the program as foreign exchange student Bay Sonomdagva, a 5-foot-9 senior, joins the program along with first-year player 6-foot junior Brenden Cherry.
Five freshman will also have a shot at the lineup.
Six-foot Brayden Hatcher, 5-foot-9 Corbin Andrini, 5-foot-7 Landon Arthur, 5-foot-10 Bryce Koester and 5-foot-8 Kameron Worley will round out the varsity.
“I feel that with our youth and inexperience, it will be a total team effort,” said Coach Hucker, who as a senior at Fairfield in 1992 he helped lead the Mules to their only Elite Eight appearance in school history. “We have a solid group of kids who are eager to learn and will improve throughout the year.”
OUTLOOK – The scoring numbers produced in the past few seasons will be difficult to replicate. But the kids coming get a fresh start with not a lot of expectations. A few wins here and there should help the attitude of everyone around. They have added a few tougher games to the schedule which could help matters in the long run.
2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE