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Faclons ready to fly high on the court

November 19, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

When the Fitch girls basketball teams takes the court this season it will do so with one of the top players around.

Six-foot senior Sabria Hunter is a four-year starter at Fitch and has been a force in the area since her freshman campaign. She has averaged a double-double (more than 10 points and 10 rebounds per game) in back-to-back seasons and is one rebound away from being the all-time leader in rebounds at Fitch. That would be the all-time leader for both girls and boys. She is also on pace to have the most points in school history regardless of gender. Hunter is so gifted intellectually too that she has signed her letter of intent to attend West Point when her playing days in Austintown end. With attributes like that, it is easy to see why Fitch head coach Dan Schnurrenberger is showcasing Hunter in 2018/2019 and building his program around her this year as well.

"Sabria is one of the best big girls in the state of Ohio," Schnurrenberger said. "And she's actually gotten better. She is our leader and we are proud to have her."

Coach Schnurrenberger is also proud of the team he has around his future Cadet. Three-year starter Jada Lazaro will run the offense from the point guard position. Senior forward Taylor Fronk and junior Daria Williams will flank Lazaro at guard. Mia Jackson is a senior who will see time in the front court alongside Hunter. Starting Williams and Jackson will enable the Lady Falcons to play a faster brand of basketball this winter than it is accustomed to doing.

"We should be a quicker team this year," Schnurrenberger said. "Having (Williams and Jackson) will allow us to do more offensively and defensively. We are looking good inside and out and we should rebound well as a team."

The Falcons also have three more seniors that should all contribute at some point in a reserve role. Forwards Nyasha Olverson and Mackenzie Marcello and guard Melissa Mershimer will be needed to add that senior seasoning. Sophomore Emma Bartlett may be counted upon to play even a larger role than her upperclassmen sisters.

"(Bartlett) should be our first player off the bench," Schnurrenberger said. "We need all of these girls to come along quickly."

The Falcon coach also is hoping he can find someone who can provide more consistency from beyond the arc.

"We need to shoot better from outside and do better with our three-point shooting," said Schnurrenberger.

Fitch's ladies may be in a lot of games this season that may force them to score a lot of points. The slate of games staring Schnurrenberger and his group in the face is one of the toughest in recent memory. Highlighting the slate is a holiday tournament in Columbus on the weekend after Christmas against heavyweights Hamilton Badin of Cincinnati and Lincoln Prep of Canada. Fitch also has the privilege to play at Quicken Loans Arena versus Massillon Jackson on January 21.

"I'm proud of our schedule," said Schnurrenberger. "It's an opportunity to play some elite teams. Our girls deserve a schedule like this. We embrace the challenge."

This gauntlet of games doesn't even include the weekly chore of matching up against the top teams of the All American Conference. League games don't start until the early part of January, but once it does, it'll dominate the Falcons' schedule for most of the latter part of the year.

"It's a grind every night," said Schnurrenberger about the AAC contests. "Howland and Warren Harding are very tough and Canfield is the defending champ and they return their best player."

That may be true, but the Falcons return their best player as well. Having Hunter and her supporting cast should make the rigors of playing such a daunting slate a lot easier to handle.



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