Jack Fessenden is one of several upperclassmen looking to lead the Troy Buchanan Trojans back to the state tournament.
A senior guard, Fessenden started playing basketball when he was in kindergarten. He specialized in basketball growing up and traveled around the country in grade school playing basketball. Fessenden and the other Trojan players grew up playing together as early as elementary school.
“It's the same guys even on the high school team,” Fessenden said. “So it’s just been fun to play with the same guys for so many years.”
Fessenden leads the Trojans with over 17 points per game this season. He has averaged over 10 points each of the past three seasons. He averaged over 10 points per game in his sophomore season and over 13 points per game last season.
Fessenden’s calling card is his shooting ability. Head coach Tim Gilmore, who has coached the Trojans since Fessenden’s freshman season, stressed Fessenden’s all-around game is also strong.
“Everybody labels him as a shooter but he’s so much more than that,” Gilmore said. “He’s a great slasher and hands down our best on-ball defensive player. He’s a player first type of kid. Always willing to give credit to somebody else. And his teammates have done a fantastic job finding him this year. He’s shot it super well.”
Gilmore also has seen Fessenden grow as a leader for the Trojans this season. Fessenden’s voice is heard much more this season. He is pushing all his teammates, even his senior teammates.
Gilmore sees Fessenden’s increased leadership role partially due to his senior status and partially due to an emphasis heading into this season.
“I think it comes with time,” Gilmore said. “I think it comes with experience. And just confidence to speak up and to talk and to do those things. We have been pushing these guys because they are a quiet, kind of a modest, old school group. Their voices are starting to get heard at practice.”
The Trojans finished their non-conference slate with a 9-3 record as they look to win their second district title in three seasons. The Trojans advanced to the state tournament in Fessenden’s sophomore season. They fell to Ft. Zumwalt North in the state quarterfinals. The Trojans came up one point short of repeating as district champions last season, falling to Ft. Zumwalt South 60-59 in the district championship game.
“We always look back at that and see what we can improve on and just never let that happen again,” Fessenden said. “That’s been our main focus this year is what can we do to prevent that.”
Gilmore thinks the Trojans learned from last year’s district championship game loss and are ready to make a push for the district title.
“We feel like we learned so much from our district championship game last year that you just can’t take any practice for granted, take any possession for granted,” Gilmore said. “Every possession matters and I think these guys really understand that now. It sticks in the back of your brains. I think it stuck with us all summer.”
Gilmore said the Trojans are a veteran team this season. The Trojans are led by their six seniors but also get contributions from their underclassmen. Sophomore Andrew Moore averages 14 points per game, which is second on the team.
After the Trojans make a run at the district title and potentially a run in the state tournament, Fessenden is hoping to find a home to play basketball at the collegiate level. As of January, Fessenden was still looking around to see his best fit. He is talking to coaches and his family to see what will be most beneficial for him and his future.
“I definitely want to stay close but also want to compete,” Fessenden said. “Somewhere that’s welcoming and wants to win is my main focus.”
Gilmore said Fessenden has the ability to play basketball at the collegiate level. It is hard to find players that can shoot the basketball, he said.
“Wherever it’s at, what level it’s at, I don’t know,” Gilmore said. “But he can shoot it really well. He’s athletic enough. He’s long enough. The thing he has that a lot of kids don’t is he’s willing to grind on the defensive end. So many great players are just one-way players. He’s definitely a two-way player.”
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