The Falcons have come a long way in three seasons under Mary Ann McGahagan.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
ALLIANCE -- Three years ago, the Fitch High girls basketball team was at its lowest point.
The Falcons lost to Boardman 74-30 in the Division I sectional tournament to finish the season with a record of 1-20.
Falcon coach Mary Ann McGahagan called the game a "learning experience for our younger players" and actually played four freshman at one point.
If McGahagan was going to rebuild Fitch, she knew she needed the help of her younger players.
Three years later, the Falcons (11-10) are a much different team.
Winning record: Fitch lost to Canton GlenOak 57-46 Saturday in the Division I sectional at Alliance High School, but finished with a winning record for the second-straight year.
"These seniors got us back on the map," McGahagan said. "Where they have taken us these past four years is a tribute to them."
The Falcons went 5-17 in 1999 and 12-10 last season.
"I really wanted this to be their year," Fitch junior Katie McDermott, who finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, said.
"Those girls mean a lot to me. They came in with [McGahagan] and proved to a lot of people that Fitch basketball isn't a joke."
Senior Kim Buhro, who scored five points in the Boardman loss three years ago, had 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Senior Megan Geidner scored 10 points and senior Dawn Simpson added eight.
"We've been friends since the seventh and eighth grade," Simpson said of the senior class. "Our friendship brought us together and I think we've done a lot over the past three years."
Close all way: The two teams were tied 9-9 after the first quarter and the Golden Eagles took a 25-23 halftime lead. Fitch trailed 36-33 after three and were within 40-38 with six minutes left, but would not get closer. GlenOak hit seven 3-pointers.
"We did a good job inside, but the 3s killed us," Simpson said. "They always kill us."
GlenOak went 8-for-10 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
"We didn't play anywhere near what we're capable of playing," McGahagan said. "We had too many turnovers (18) and our shots weren't falling."
Ebony West led GlenOak (13-8) with 17 points. Erica McElroy added 15 points, eight assists and five steals and Terri Gavin grabbed 10 rebounds.
Next up: The Golden Eagles will play Massillon Jackson Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Alliance High School.
Fitch loses six seniors, but McDermott thinks the team has a solid foundation.
"We lose a lot of talent, but we've developed a lot of talent the past two years," she said.
"The girls have had players they could look up to and model themselves after. I think we're ready to get better."