The Fairview High School girls basketball team is in the midst of one of its best seasons in program history.
With their 45-38 Division II sectional final win against Clearview on Feb. 21, the Warriors achieved 20 wins in one season for the first time and advanced to play Vermillion in a district tournament semifinal contest on Thursday.
Reaching the 20-win mark was just the latest in what has been a series of firsts Fairview has recorded this winter. Earlier in the season, the Warriors established the program's longest winning streak by stringing together 14 consecutive wins. Earning the top seed in the Elyria District Tournament also set a new program benchmark.
Achieving such milestones probably seemed like a farfetched dream to the Warriors when Fairview lost back-to-back contests in December to drop its overall record to 4-3.
But, according to third-year head coach Bill Harvey, abandoning thoughts of possibly hoisting championship hardware and raising championship banners at the end of the season helped spark the Warriors' resurgence.
"We came together as a group and stopped looking at the big picture," Harvey said. "We just focused on each day one at a time."
The Warriors (20-4, 12-4 Patriot Athletic Conference) also adopted "Refuse to Lose" as its mantra for the reminder of the season.
Led by junior Katie Smith's 15.4 points-per-game scoring average and the team's new-found focus on the present, this year's young squad has experienced little losing since that point.
Seven of Fairview's top eight rotation players have at least one year of eligibility remaining.
The poor performances early on were frustrating at the time, but according to Harvey, have allowed him and his players to enjoy the success they've experienced since that point even more.
Harvey said he'll always remember how the team came together when faced with adversity at the beginning of the season and how much the team's members enjoy being around one another.
"This is my 15th year of coaching, and by far, this has not only been the most successful, but the most enjoyable of them as well," Harvey said. "This has just been an unbelievable ride that I don't want to see come to an end."
Last week, Harvey answered questions about the Warriors and their season thus far for WKYC's usatodayhss.com Web site.
WKYC's usatodayhss.com Web site: What are three adjectives that describe your team and/or its season thus far?
Fairview girls basketball coach Bill Harvey: Aggressive, determined and fearless.
WKYC: What has been your team's greatest strength this season?
Harvey: Playing together.
WKYC: What has been your team's biggest weakness this season?
WKYC: Who are your team's leaders? What do they bring to the team?
Harvey: Senior Rosie Morrison and juniors Katie Smith and Megan Coyne. They bring toughness and a never-quit attitude.
WKYC: Who have been your team's unsung heroes this season?
Harvey: Junior point guard Megan Coyne and senior guard Shannon Gullette. Soccer is [Coyne's] main sport and she never believed she was that good at basketball, but after our 4-3 start, we had a heart-to-heart [talk]. From that point, she has led the way. Gullette is our little spark plug; she gives us tons of energy off the bench. All it takes is her hitting a shot and it just gives us a huge boost.
WKYC: What must happen for your team to be able to continue its postseason run?
Harvey: Continue to play as one, believe in each other and have balance.
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