Boys basketball: Winfield's Fisher plays like there is no off day
WINFIELD, W.Va. - When a schedule provides no room for "off" nights, it pays to have a player like Zach Fisher, who prepares and plays as if they'll never be one.
The Winfield boys basketball team continues to navigate the challenges of its first season in one of the state's best leagues, the Mountain State Athletic Conference. With Fisher, a junior guard, at the helm, the Generals (6-4) prepare and contend each night, with the aim come late February, they'll be "on."
Fisher - the lead General - represents the team's most dependable player, and as two-guard, he's the go-to scoring threat at nearly 17 points per game.
"He just comes to work every day as serious and mature as any player I've ever had," Coach Pat McGinnis said of Fisher. "He just goes out there and performs every night. He brings his lunch pail every night. He's just a blue-collar worker, and he can shoot the ball.
"He knows we want him to shoot it. If he's got a good look, he's got the green light every night, and he plays so hard, if you notice, both ends of the floor, up and down the court."
McGinnis emphasized Fisher brings more than shooting skills to the court.
"He's the type of kid he's not out there for points," McGinnis said. "He just wants to win. He knows his role. He knows we want him to shoot the 3 when he has it. He gets to the rim real well. He just does anything you ask and he does it with a smile."
Sometimes the shots don't fall. Other times switching to point guard is necessary. Whatever the case, Fisher said he's happy to serve his team any way he can.
"I just try to do other things to help us win when I'm not hitting," he said. "I try to get back in rhythm and just help the team however I can.
"I just try to do whatever they want me to do, and I just try to take care of the ball and get it wherever it needs to go."
Fisher contributed from all ends of the floor during Winfield's 48-44 victory against Beckley Thursday. Fisher started 0-of-3 from the field, but rebounded to finish with a team-high 13 points, as well as four rebounds, three assists and a block.
The Generals led throughout and by as many as 11 late in the third quarter until the Flying Eagles manufactured a 14-0 run to lead 31-28.
Later, with the game tied, Winfield surged ahead in the final minutes to snag a precious victory against a much-respected MSAC foe.
"I think we just out-hustled them and played harder," Fisher said. "We wanted it more."
Fisher and the Generals (6-4) will need to keep that attitude in what's expected to be a series of challenges.
"We're really in a tough part of our schedule now," McGinnis said. "We've already played GW and Capital and now we got Woodrow, Parkersburg. We got Huntington coming in here. It's just non-stop."
Of Winfield's four losses, all have been by eight points or fewer. The team has succeeded in close games, too, defeating Beckley for the first-time ever and Hurricane, both by four points.
The schedule doesn't afford any time to bask in the victories, though, as the next opponent always poses a threat.
"There's no weak teams on our schedule," McGinnis said. "It's loaded."
Better bring the "A" game in the MSAC, because guys like Fisher will, and teams like the Generals should only improve as Winfield finds its rhythm.
"It's a challenge, but I think we're ready, and I think we'll continue to get better as the season goes on," Fisher said.
Winfield visits Parkersburg (2-8) on Wednesday. The Generals return home to play host to Huntington (7-2) on Friday night.