Scoring helps Fortner capture player of the year
By Anthony Richards
The basketball court seems to be a natural fit for Christian Fortner, which should make it no surprise that the Thorsby junior was named The Clanton Advertiser 2018 Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Fortner was about 5 years old when he was introduced to basketball. It did not take long after that to develop a love for the game that has continued to grow with each year.
“I thank God for blessing me with this ability and for giving me this opportunity,” Fortner said. “I also couldn’t have done any of this without my coaches and teammates. Everybody’s always just been really positive in trying to help me out.”
He is a tough matchup for just about anyone that is saddled with the responsibility of guarding him.
“I’ve tried to get bigger in the weight room, so that I don’t get pushed around as easily underneath the goal,” Fortner said. “It’s all about being able to finish through contact.”
What makes him the most difficult to guard is the fact that he is far from one dimensional and has proven time and again that he can produce points in multiple ways.
“If somebody [the defender] steps out, I can go by them,” Fortner said. “If they back up, I can shoot the three. It just comes with practice.”
Hours in the gym are nothing new for Fortner, who has a routine of shooting a couple hundred shots almost every day after school. This includes during the offseason.
“I work on threes, driving, jumping, and just about anything else I can think of to improve my game,” Fortner said.
Fortner is quite comfortable with the ball in his hands and showed a knack throughout the season to make quick decisions and find open teammates even when the pace of the game picked up.
He averaged a double-double with 25.1 points and 10 rebounds per game to go along with 4.5 assists, 3.7 blocks and 2.7 steals per game.
In seven games during the season Fortner eclipsed the 30-point mark. He scored a season-high 40 points against Fayetteville in the Area 9-2A tournament on February 6.
No matter the game, Fortner approached each with the same attacking mindset. Certain games he was relied upon to be more of a scorer, while other games dictated that he would take on a role of a facilitator.
“I really don’t feel anything before a big night like that,” Fortner said. “I just go out there and try to do my best and whatever happens, happens.”
All-Advertiser Boys Basketball Team
Xavier Dejarnett, Verbena, So.
Christian Fortner, Thorsby, Jr.
Mondez Jones, Chilton County, Sr.
Patrick Rogers, Chilton County, Sr.
Ryan Thompson, Jemison, Sr.
Jackson Abbott, Maplesville, Fr.
Raymond Cutler, Billingsley, So.
Isaac Martin, Isabella, Jr.
Chaz Morris, Maplesville, Sr.
Cain Niece, Thorsby, Sr.
Ty Rawlinson, Billingsley, Jr.