The Fairview High School girls basketball team finished its season 20-5, which is the best record for the program in the school's history. (West Life photo by Stefanie Kilnapp)
By Stefanie Kilnapp
The dream season came to an end for Fairview High School’s girls basketball team as it fell to Vermilion, 37-31, in the district semifinals last Thursday at Elyria High School.
Warriors head coach Bill Harvey believed these girls should be very proud of themselves.
“I told them that only four teams are going to walk away feeling great.” he said. “Everyone else is going to feel what you felt on different levels.
“To make it here is phenomenal; you’ll never forget this.”
Fairview started out with a meager number of points in the first half only putting up 11 to Vermilion’s 20.
“We just had a lethargic beginning, and when you come out like this to districts, it’s hard to get here; funny things happen,” Harvey said. “You can’t give it away and we weren’t ready at the beginning of the game. But that’s my girls; they don’t give up and they fought hard, and they were right there at the end. If we’re going to lose, let’s go down swinging, and we did.”
Harvey did not know why the girls had such a sluggish start.
“If I knew, I think I could write a book,” he said. “I think every coach in the world would love to know, and we all fear this kind of start. It seemed we’d get one or two buckets, but couldn’t get that third.”
The Warriors looked like a completely different basketball team in the second half, improving their accuracy, and movement. The foul factor played against them also at the start, but with the necessary adjustments, Fairview turned that around.
“The fouls were going against us and then I told the girls, ‘Move your feet, let’s work more on angles,’ and in the second half we did, and we put them in some bad positions and that caused them to foul. If we had done that in the first half, who knows where we’d be at right now?”
Harvey doesn’t look too much at the last two minutes of the game in which the girls came to close to tying up the game, at 33-31; rather, he looks at the game as a whole.
“Too many people look at the end of the game and I’m sure some coaches will pick out a couple plays and say ‘Man, if we got that,’ … I don’t believe in that. We were short at the beginning that’s what cost us.”
Perhaps the Fairview girls were capable of more Thursday night, but they came a long way with a season start of 4-3.
When Harvey started with the program, the team was only solidifying its season with four or five wins. He built around the team that he had and ended that season with eight wins, then the next season with 12 with a group that was “just happy to be out there.”
“I think the beginning of the season I put too much pressure them, then they started putting too much pressure on themselves, then we started at 4-3,” he said. “We had a little team break down, and that was the best thing for us. Then we ripped off 14 in a row. We had a chance to play for a conference championship, and we won a sectional championship, so it hurts right now.”
Harvey has been with the team for three years, and previously coached boys basketball for 10. He thought he had hung it out and was done coaching, but these girls were different for him and eventually made a dramatically positive impression on him. They even took up some of his own characteristics.
“They took a little bit of my mentality, the toughness, the aggressiveness, getting after it, and it was fun to watch, and to win the amount of games that we won, the winning streaks, the school records … I love being around them,” he stated. “Hey, heck of a run, 20-5. I know a lot of people who’d take 20-5 and a sectional championship in a heartbeat.
“I return seven next year, so I’m thrilled; this is something special.”
Junior Kaitlyn Smith finished the game with 12 points, followed by junior Megan Coyne with 11 and sophomore Kelsey Bilak with eight.