FAIRBANK — The Harter family name is well known around Fairbank.
So it was quite obvious that Mason Harter would fit in like, well, family. He has, according to longtime Warriors boys basketball coach Marty McKowen.
“His dad (Andy) is a former player of mine and his grandpa worked in the school system for a long time,” McKowen said. “When his mom ended up landing a job at the school, we had no idea how good of a player Mason was, to be honest with you.
“He’s fit in so well with our program and he’s been a great addition to an already good team.”
Mason Harter averaged 14.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game at Sigourney as a freshman. He added nearly 2.5 blocks, 1.5 assists and a steal on 47.5 percent shooting from the field for the Savages (10-12) and was named to the South Iowa Cedar League’s second team.
The numbers have dropped slightly, but it comes with a bit of a role change, one that Harter accepts happily for the defending Class 1A champions.
“I’ve turned my game into being a passer more,” Harter said. “At my old school, I didn’t pass that much because I was the main scorer. Now I have four other scorers on the court, so we share the ball.
“It feels great. You don’t have to perform really, really good every day.”
Harter has a per game stat line of 11.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, but he’s surrounded by equal talent at Wapsie Valley (17-4). He’s still 6-foot-6, and is bolstered by 6-4 Gunner Meyer and 6-3 Parker Landsgard.
“I knew coach McKowen because he coached my dad. I came in and was like, ‘I’m here. I’ll help out in any way,’” Harter said. “I knew Gunner because we played AAU together. That’s who I just fit in with around here.”
Meyer is near 13 points per game, while Blayde Bellis (11.0) and Kobe Risse (10.3) score more than 10 per game.
“It feels like I grew up with the team, from like grade school,” Harter said. “Everyone accepted me and it feels like I’ve been in Wapsie Valley forever.”
McKowen laughed when asked if the phrase “the rich get richer” applied.
“One of the most impressive things about him is being his first year at Wapsie Valley, how well he’s fit in with everybody,” McKowen said. “It’s his personality, and he’s a really good kid.
“He’s given us a great presence at the low post, both offensively and defensively. And he’s done a very good job.”
Said Harter, “I have a great team and great coach making me better.”