FAIRBORN — The Fairborn Skyhawks showed great improvement from last year against Trotwood-Madison despite losing by a score of 45-38, Nov. 28.
“They competed and they didn’t quit, even when we were down,” new Fairborn coach Jim Cole said. “That’s what I’m most proud of.”
If Wednesday night’s game is any indication, the Skyhawks may have come a long way.
Trotwood-Madison won the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s American South division by five games over runner-up Fairborn last season. The Rams handed Fairborn a 72-32 loss in their first meeting in Trotwood, then won 51-32 on the Skyhawks’ floor.
Cole has worked to teach his kids the importance of practice and working together as a team. He said that this idea has helped his team stay focused and compete, even when they are down on the scoreboard.
“We are a work in progress,” Cole said. “I think most of the kids have bought into the fact that we have to practice and play together and do all the little things right.”
This willingness to fight was shown on Wednesday when the team fought to within six points of Trotwood-Madison in the fourth quarter. The team clawed its way back from being down by 11 at halftime.
Senior Evelyn Oktavec led the Skyhawks with eight points on the night. Her freshman sister, Natalie, helped lead the junior varsity squad to a win over the Rams.
“We struggled a little bit the first half, but the second half we played right there with them.” Cole said
The team used a mix of both zone and man defenses, and they often looked to trap the opposing team with a double team.
“When we have opportunities to trap, we will take them,” Cole said. “We like putting that pressure on the opposing team.”
While the team ultimately lost, there was evident improvement. Cole emphasized that there was still much to work on, but the biggest thing was that his team could compete.
“Being competitive should be the first cornerstone of a program. You need to be able to compete and play hard with effort and we did that,” he said.
Fairborn will look to use this game as motivation for the rest of the season and they hope to improve upon their efforts.
“We need to remember that when we were down against Trotwood we fought and were competitive and got ourselves back in the game,” Cole said. “If we improve on a few things, we can compete that much better.”
Joshua Woolverton is a student intern for Greene County News from Cedarville University.