Sometimes, a team’s season can be made or broken depending on how it responds to adversity.
Although Fraser senior Erik Lockard, whom coach Marshall Wandrei considered one of the best guards in the county, if not the state, is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to an injury, Wandrei expects his squad to continue to march on.
Fraser won a district title last season, and along with pursuing a Macomb Area Conference Blue Division championship, Wandrei is hoping his team can enjoy another successful postseason run.
“We talked about goals at the beginning of the season,” he said. “We’re still on track. We can still accomplish all of them. As a team, we had established what we thought would be a regular-season win total, and (we’re) still on track to accomplish that. The amount of wins could be attached to our, hopefully, division title. A district title is one of our goals, and a regional title is one of our goals.”
When a team loses a key player, it may be a difficult assignment for any one player to step in and fill his shoes. And while there has been a period of adjustment following Lockard’s injury, Wandrei has been pleased to see other players, including seniors Nolan Linville (who has committed to play for the Naval Academy next season), Justin Hudson, Zach Ferguson and Frank Gregory combine their efforts to try to help Fraser stay the course.
“(We’ve) had several guys that have played really, really well,” he said. “It’s very encouraging. It looks like we have guys that are clearly getting better in several areas of the game.”
A roster that includes 10 seniors, nine of whom are returning players, is a luxury a lot of coaches would probably like to have. And although Wandrei may be sad they won’t be suiting up for the Ramblers next season, he is glad to have them in the mix for the rest of this campaign.
“We had a good year last year, and all those guys coming back put us in a good position this year to learn, grow and be pretty good,” he said. “Real happy to have that kind of base coming back to build from this year. It’s been a big benefit.
“This particular group of players has been successful since they started at Fraser as seventh-graders. It will be a tough loss when they all move on after this year.”
Wandrei would like to send his seniors off with another title, or more, to their credit. It starts with taking aim at a MAC Blue championship, and according to Wandrei, so far things are playing out as expected.
“We figured that we were one of the favorites coming in; we were hoping we were,” he said. “It has turned out that way. We knew (Warren) Fitzgerald would be, also. It has turned out that way. We figured (Madison Heights) Madison would be in the hunt, and they kind of are. It did shake out as we thought it was (going to) shake out, as far as the league competition.”
At press time, Fraser was 4-1 in the MAC Blue (7-4 overall), just behind first-place Fitzgerald (4-0 MAC Blue, 8-1 overall)
Fraser is next scheduled to be in action at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 in a home game against Madison.