As fall kicks in, the season makes way for the annual start of one of the most successful Fairmont sports programs.
Girl’s basketball try-outs are in full swing, and the season is quickly approaching. Coming off a 19-8 season, Head Coach Lacy Drake says regardless of the year, expectations are constantly high.
“Expectations are very high. With success comes higher standards and bigger goals,” Drake said. “Given what this program has accomplished in the last 15 years, we are expected to continue that success.”
Drake says that the goal going into the season is to lean on the seniors.
“The game plan going in is to use their leadership and their experience at the varsity level to guide our young kids and to get everybody up to speed and ready for the long and competitive season,” she said.
Although the expectations are very high each year, Drake knows that with every new season comes a brand new team.
“Every year is completely different, different dynamics, different leadership, different roles,” Drake said. “I think it’s going to be a fun year.”
The Fairmont Firebirds lost seniors DeChelle Roe, Lindsay Breslin, Shea Morgan, and Alyssa Clemente, who in her impressive senior season was top 5 in GWOC in points per game, steals per game, and assists per game.
Even with the loss of essential players, the third year head coach isn’t phased by the change at all.
“No, I’m not worried. I’m more excited than anything,” Drake said. “I think when you have some change and new players, it’s exciting for a coach to maybe try some different things on both ends of the floor.”
Regardless of the change in players, senior shooting guard Emily Hughes is a firm believer in this years team as well.
“I think we’re going to be really good, much better than people think we are,” Hughes said.
Hughes, a returning role player who averaged 2.6 points, and almost a steal a game, is accepting a niche of seniority and leadership.
“I expect to be more of a leader, to speak up more, and teach them how to do things because our team is going to be kind of young this year,” she said.
Even with the youth, Hughes likes their character. “We actually started to click really well in off-season workouts, they’re all really good people,” she said.
Fairmont has a rich history in Girls’ Basketball, winning a state championship in 2013, and producing a star duo of division one players nicknamed the “Twin Towers” which included Kathryn Westbeld and Makayla Waterman. Westbeld played in the National Championship game last year with Notre Dame, Waterman played for the home-state Ohio State Buckeyes.
Coach Drake and the youthful Firebirds are going off of a saying, “Trust The Process.”
“We have to trust what we do every day. You have to trust each other, trust your coaches, and trust that what we are doing is moving us in the right direction of reaching our goals,” Drake said.
Despite the great accolades of Firebird Girls’ Basketball, Drake says it takes precious time. “It’s a process to get there, we’re not just going to be great right away,” she said.
Senior Emily Hughes says that in Fairmont’s tradition, it’s more than just basketball.
“It’s a lot of dedication, and it’s more than just teammates, we’re family,” Hughes said.