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2023-2024 KIT CARSON BOYS’ BASKETBALL TEAM - (Back row left to right) Rhilin Turner, Josiah Irwin, Brennan Framel, Gunner Randel. (Front row l to r) Keaton Marriott, O’Shea Farmer, Fernando Fierro, George Jackson.
Gina Dechant

Kit Carson Boys Will Have to Do Some Building but Have the Material

By Betsy Barnett

November 28, 2023

The Dechant brothers, Damon and Jason, will be on the bench again this year for the Kit Carson Wildcats as head coach Damon Dechant enters his 6th year. He’s hoping to build upon a tough season from a year ago where the Wildcats were 4-16 overall and lost every league game in the very tough Hi-Plains conference. They missed the playoffs by one spot that depends on RPI rankings as they had played tough against the league opponents all season.

The big job ahead of the coaches is the fact that they lost 4 starters off last year’s team including Brandon States (8.6 ppg); Alex Mitchek (6.9 ppg/7.7 rebounds per game); Tanner Conaway (5.5 ppg/3.0 rpg); and Paul Mitchek (5.5 ppg / 4.1 rebounds).

However, the Wildcats return four key players who had a great deal of playing time a year ago.

Keaton Marriott will be their guard and will also help with the rebounding as the senior is a strong, athletic player. Marriott average 3.4 ppg a year ago, pulled down 2.5 rebounds per game, and grabbed 1.3 steals. Of Marriott, Dechant says, “Keaton is our Senior leader. He worked very hard over 4 years on his offensive game. He’s an all-league defender and we expect that to continue.”

Josiah Irwin is a tall, long player who will help the Wildcats significantly on the boards. He has a soft shot and was the leading scorer a year ago with 9.3 points per game and 6.2 rebounds. Irwin is a senior this year and the coaches will depend on him to play multiple positions. “Josiah came to us very raw in junior high. He has caught up with his body and is very athletic. We expect him to rebound well and to keep improving on the offensive and defensive end.”

Two other players who had some good time on the court include Brennan Framel, a good-sized junior, who averaged 1.8 ppg and 2.1 rebounds a year ago; and Fernando Ferrales Fierro who saw limited time but is athletic and will be able to develop quickly this season.

Dechant added, “Brennan is a well-rounded ball player. He can play anywhere we ask him. Fernado didn’t see much time last year but he’s been with us long enough that we are going to depend on him to keep improving.”

The Wildcats were also hoping to have sophomore Mason Marriott, but he was injured in football and it looks doubtful he’ll be able to play basketball this year.

“We will have a mix of younger players and upperclassmen so getting cohesiveness early on will be key for us. We have some major losses to graduation, football injury and transfer so some of the guys that haven’t seen much time will play. We’re going to need Gunner Randel Jr, George Jackson So, O’Shea Farmer Fr. And Rhilin Turner Jr. to step up and contribute when called upon. We also have 9, so we will have to be in good shape, be able to play solid defense without fouling, and find a way to put the ball in the hoop.”

Dechant has always emphasized how difficult the Hi-Plains League is. “Cheyenne Wells, Eads, Granada, Cheraw, and McClave all should be considered as top 10 teams with the ability to make a run-in late February and early March.”

The Wildcats will begin their season in the Flagler Tournament on Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9. They will then be one of the 8 boys’ teams at the much-anticipated Lamar Holiday Basketball Tournament on December 14, 15, 16.

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