First, I would like to start off by saying congratulations to each person and team inducted into the hall of fame. I was lucky enough to attend the ceremony and the stories were great! Each person put aside the fact that they were outstanding athletes to pay tribute to the people that helped them along the way. The other reason I am writing is because I was inducted with the 1994-1995 Tygarts Valley girls basketball team. I was inducted individually in 2005, and this was even more special to me than that.
I just had a few things to add to what was stated at the ceremony. There was not quite enough time for our coach, Buck Cecil, to truly express how great this team really was. There will never be another team like this at TVHS, in my opinion. What can't be expressed through statistics is the strong bond this team had. We were like sisters. Most of us are still close today.
As a senior that year, I remember being especially hard on the freshmen (which we referred to as the "Dominators"). At the time, they probably thought that myself and the rest of the starting five were just bullies. Looking back now, we were just staking claim to the positions we believed we had earned. We weren't going to let these freshmen take our spots! I believe this made our team and teams to come that much better. This team was hardworking, dedicated and full of strong-willed young ladies. We truly cared for one another and had one goal, to win games and make it to states. We could have never imagined how successful we would really be.
We had several great players on that team, but none greater than the team as a whole. We spent summers in open gyms, playing against guys, going to basketball camps, playing AAU and playing in our backyards. Our work ethic was untouchable. It paid off tenfold. Our team was undefeated at home, went 21-3 for the season, won sectionals, regionals and became the first team from TVHS to win a game at the state tournament. We made it to the "final four" and were ranked fourth in the state (but were the No. 1 public school).
This team also set many school records and had a 14-game winning streak. We also had two all-state selections - myself and Lori "Sparky" Arbogast; three all-tournament selections - myself, Sparky Arbogast and Michelle Arbogast; and two all-conference selections - Sparky Arbogast and Michelle Arbogast.
Lori Defibaugh was a great defensive player and could shoot the lights out; Molly Channell could block your shot clear up into the stands; Sparky Arbogast would take anyone to the hoop; Michelle Arbogast could take on girls twice her size with no problem; and I would stick to you like glue on defense and shoot a three in your face on offense. This was just the starting five!
Those freshmen we gave such a hard time to would also go on to be outstanding players and played important roles as freshmen as well. Bridget Jack was a forward, but would shoot threes like there was no tomorrow. Debbie Defibaugh was an outstanding point guard, Chanda Saucerman was natural shooter, Kristy Howard was a strong forward and rebounder, Lori Rader would defend anyone and Jennifer Workman was fast and a great defensive player. Not too shabby for a small school in Mill Creek.
I believe we could have beaten any team in the state when we were playing our best. The thing I am trying to get across is that it takes a "team" to be successful. Teams that focus their entire team around one "star" cannot be as successful. There was no jealousy on this team, when players weren't on the floor, they were on the bench cheering on their teammates. Sure we had our disagreements, but we never let that get in the way of our goal. I want to thank all my teammates from that year. You were each truly amazing young ladies and you each gave me some of the greatest memories I have had in my life so far.
We are each successful women in our own way, and I believe being athletes helped us each to be so successful. I want to also thank our families and the community for the outstanding support they gave us during that time. Our fans won the overall "best cheering section" at the state tournament that year (shout out to the "Bleacher Creatures!"). Without our families, we would not have been able to achieve the success we did. The last thing I want to say is that athletes are not born athletes. It takes hard work, dedication, team work, encouragement and belief in oneself to be the best.
I hope that this serves as a reminder to those athletes out there today that being great doesn't come easy, you have to work at it and have support to be your best. If you think you are not good enough, try harder. If you think it is too hard, then it probably wasn't meant to be. To the coaches out there, it is your job to encourage your players. It is your job to teach and dedicate your time equally to each player. The one you think is not worth your time may become the best player you ever coached.