Girls Basketball: Climax-Fisher breaks 84-game losing streak with just 3 players
By Chris Murphy Forum News Service CLIMAX -- Climax-Fisher's girls basketball team had the perfect game plan to break its 84-game losing streak Tuesday against Bagley. First, have four players foul out by the end of regulation and play 4-on-5 in ...
By Chris Murphy
Forum News Service
CLIMAX - Climax-Fisher’s girls basketball team had the perfect game plan to break its 84-game losing streak Tuesday against Bagley.
First, have four players foul out by the end of regulation and play 4-on-5 in the first overtime. Then, have another player foul out with 3 minutes, 6 seconds remaining in the second overtime to make it 3-on-5 with three players with the least amount of varsity experience. Finally, win with zero field goals in both overtimes.
Bagley would never see it coming.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve never been a part of anything like it,” Climax-Fisher coach Jonathon Vonesh said Wednesday. “In practice we obviously work on some disadvantages, but never 5-on-3. The girls had the desire. They had the heart to keep their feet, keep moving and find their energy. The determination was just ridiculous.”
The Knights won 62-58 in double overtime Tuesday, and down went an 84-game losing streak. Vonesh had coached for 48 straight losses. For the first time, he got to give a postgame victory speech to his Knights.
“It was emotional,” Vonesh said. “It was like we won a championship. Kids jumped off the bench. Parents ran down. It was awesome. If you can’t get excited after a win like that, there’s nothing that’s going to get you excited.”
For the final 3:06 of the second overtime, the Knights defensively had sophomore Christina Cakebread by the basket, freshman Sophie Love at the free-throw line and sophomore Mikayla Vasek covering the ball at the top of the key.
Love had played a few minutes of varsity basketball, Cakebread had no varsity experience, and Vasek is three games into her first year starting on varsity.
This was after playing the first overtime and the beginning of the second overtime 4-on-5.
“I couldn’t even describe it,” Vasek said. “I was scared. They had five and we were probably the three most inexperienced varsity players. I knew we could do it. We just had to give it all of our heart and desire. We couldn’t stop. We didn’t have a choice.”
Despite an 84-game losing streak, the Knights are just like any team. They practice, they run sprints, they watch film and they have plays.
“We do anything that any other team does,” Vonesh said. “Obviously, it’s not enjoyable to lose. When you’re on that kind of streak, you find other things to get excited about like winning a half or the first four minutes or team chemistry and relationships. The girls are not out there to lose. Everyone is out here to win.”
Senior Emily Love has been on varsity for the last three seasons. She had never won until Tuesday. She was the final person to foul out in regulation to put the game at 4-on-5.
“I was in tears,” Emily said. “I felt like, as a captain, I let my team down. With what I had left in me, I had to do it from the bench and cheer them on.”
The Knights packed it in on defense and ran on offense to force fouls. It was 50-50 in regulation, and the Knights went 12 of 17 from the free-throw line in the two overtimes. The final two free throws went to Vasek. She was the last one squeezing the basketball, waiting for the final three seconds to tick off and the buzzer to sound the end of the 84-game losing streak on her team’s shoulders.
“(The three seconds) felt like forever,” Vasek said. “It didn’t feel real. I was just thinking, ‘We did it. We pulled it off. We ended the streak.’”
For Emily Love, the night went from tears of sadness and the thought of another loss to tears of joy.
“Everybody had tears in their eyes,” Love said. “Everybody was jumping. Everybody was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. The weight is definitely gone.”