Fountain Central boys basketball is loaded with talent, that’s without question. Sitting at 22-4 and ranked the No. 2 team in Class A, FC is prepping for Saturday’s Regional after winning their first sectional title since 2015. The team features the likes of Will Harmon who is avenging right around 17 points per game and 6’10 big man Mason Larkin who scores 12.6. Those two players or at the top of each teams scouting report and for good reason. However junior Isaac Gayler, who stands at 6’5 has been the glue guy that does a little bit of everything for FC.
In their three games last week on their way to the sectional title, Gayler averaged 18.7 points per game in those three contests. What was even more impressive was that he went a blistering 26-30 (87%) from the field. Add on his impressive defense and Gayler is showing teams why you can’t overlook him when you plan for the Mustangs.
“Ike adds a little different dimension to our basketball team,” Mustang coach Greg Dean said. “You don’t have many teams out there who have a 6’5 guy who is athletic as he is. He really crashes the offensive glass for us too and that’s what gets him going. It always hasn’t been easy for him, but he’s done a nice job of staying the course all year long.
He’s found his stride right now and we’re going to continue to need that from him.”
Gayler knows that whenever his number is called, that he’ll be ready to deliver.
“Keeping my play consistent is what I’ve really been working on,” he said. “My coaches just told me to let the ball come to me and they have all the faith in the world that I’ll score. I know that Mason and Will are probably at the top of teams scouting reports, but I’ve wanted to show teams that you can’t forget about me either.”
Fountain Central all season has been a defensive minded team. The Mustangs only surrender 41.4 points per game which ranks 11th in the state. Gayler is right there helping lead the stingy FC defense.
“My length definitely comes in handy on that side of the ball,” Gayler added. “The way we run our defense and traps up top makes it real difficult. When you have Luke (Foxworthy) and I up there, we just are able to make life real tough for the other offense.”
A season ago in Dean’s first season at the helm of the Mustangs, Gayler saw his first varsity action as a sophomore. From the beginning of last season to now, Dean has noticed a drastic improvement in his junior’s game in many different areas.
“First and foremost his confidence level has gotten a lot better now that he’s had two full seasons of varsity basketball under his belt,” Dean said. “He’s always here in the gym trying to get better. The experience that he’s gotten from being a part of the battles that we’ve been through has paid off for him now. Now that we’re in year two of what we’re trying to build, I think everyone including Ike has gotten a lot more comfortable.”
At the end of the day, Gayler and the Mustangs have accomplished all of their goals that they set out to do. They’ve won the Bi-county championship, the out-right WRC title for the first time since 1991, and now the first sectional title since 2015. What’s next? Well it’s now looking for the schools first Regional championship.
“Reaching all of the goals that we talked about at the very beginning of the season has been nothing short of special,” Gayler said. “This ride and being able to enjoy it with my teammates is something that I’ll remember.”
Gayler and Fountain Central will take on Liberty Christian at the Frankfort Regional on Saturday at 4 pm with the winner punching their ticket to the semi-state round.
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