SPRINGER — Experience is often the best teacher.

SPRINGER — Experience is often the best teacher.

For the Springer Cardinals, they are hoping their experiences from last season don’t just teach them something, but give them the tools they need to build on it.

Springer finished last year with a 12-15 record, but managed to win its second district title in school history and its first since 2013. The Cardinals eventually were eliminated from the playoffs in the regional tournament with losses against then No. 1 Duke and Indiahoma. 

“Motivation is always a tricky thing,” Springer coach Caleb Fulton said. “We achieved something last year that had only been done one other time on the boys side in the history of the school. I’d like to think our kids are motivated from what we achieved last year, and also due to the fact of who we have coming back.”

“I’m wanting to build that winning culture at Springer,” Fulton added. “Last year was an eye-opening experience taking on Duke, and we saw what type of expectations come with being a top-ranked team, especially in the playoffs. Duke in my opinion was the best team in Class B. We saw what a great team looks like and how a great team carries themselves.” 

Two of the biggest returning pieces for the Cardinals coming back this season will be junior Malik Brown and sophomore Mickey Hunnicutt.

Last year, Brown led the Cardinals with 15.7 points per game, with six assists per game along with 5.4 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game.

Hunnicutt had an outstanding freshman season, as he totaled 15 points per game with 8.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and two blocks per game.

Both Brown and Hunnicutt were named to the 2018-19 All-Ardmoreite Boys Basketball team. 

“Malik and Mickey are special guys and special players for us,” Fulton said. “I’m proud of their accomplishments and their achievements. We’re going to be leaning on them, as well as several other players this season. If our guys want to be leaders this season, they will rise and earn that status by their actions on and off the court.”

Springer’s summer schedule is slightly condensed this season, as the OSSAA is implementing the mandatory “Dead Period” near the end of June and into July.

“The dead period hasn’t really affected us or the way we do things this summer,” Fulton said. “We want the kids in the gym and playing ball any chance they get. When they are able to work on their skills then that’s how they get better as players.”