|Frankie Komar signs the game ball from the championship game. The ball will rest in the trophy case along with the trophy and the championship net.|
The Lady Spartans won the state 3A basketball tournament on Feb. 24. In honor of this accomplishment the Emery County community honored the team with a celebration at Emery High. Emery High Principal Gwen Callahan welcomed the crowd to the school. Callahan began by reading a series of letters sent to the school offering congratulations on the recent basketball championship. She read, "We congratulate the players and coaches for their hard work and commitment to excellence. We congratulate the parents, school administration, faculty and students for their strong support. Your success is celebrated and recognized by all.
"We know that you will remember for a lifetime the feeling that you feel now as you stand as champions today and we hope that same feeling will carry you onto even greater success in life. Keep up the good work," signed the Emery Board of Education and the district administration of the Emery County School District.
Delta High School girls basketball coach sent a letter expressing his congratulations to the Lady Spartans, "You represented Region 8 in great fashion. You should be proud of your accomplishments. It was difficult but rewarding, pass on my congratulations to the team."
The Pineview coach also sent a congratulatory letter thanking the Lady Spartans for a fantastic year. "You are a class act."
Callahan said, "Coaching is a profession of love, you can't coach until you love them. Coach Gordon saw the potential in these girls. George Washington said 'work will win when wishing won't.' Things that hurt also instruct. Finishing second place in state last year, this team set their sights on a championship this year. Nothing is going to spoil this moment. Basketball reveals character. One man is crucial on a team, but one man can't do it all alone. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. Nothing is going to spoil this moment. These girls have worked with determination, they have been inspiring. Thank you for your support. Napoleon said that victory belongs to the most persevering. Congratulations," said Callahan.
The Emery High cheerleaders and Spardettes performed a number. They have been strong supports of all Emery High athletics throughout the year.
After the cheerleaders and drill team, Callahan introduced some members of the basketball team who spoke. Meagan Pearson said, "We just want to thank everyone. What an experience. Not many people get to experience a state championship. It may not have been a perfect season, but after our third loss, we never lost again. It was sweet revenge to come back and beat Wasatch at the state tournament. We had lost to them in December. We had a great record. Our goals became a reality. We defended our house and we never lost a game at home. I want to thank our coaches, families and the community. I will cherish the friendships I've made with each of the girls. Through our struggles we always stepped up and pulled through as friends; our struggles brought us together as a team. We are under a lot of pressure and we need to work harder now. They are all out to get us. My brother Chandler is serving a mission in New York and he sent me a letter that said how proud he is of our team. He gave me some advice and said remember when Michael Jordan won his first championship, the very next day he was back in the gym improving his game. Tomorrows success depends on todays work."
Rachel Rasmussen was next she said, "Last year made us work even harder." Rachel remembered the times when they kicked the coaches butts on three on three. She related how awesome it was to take region and then state. "It was awesome to look up and see more Emery fans than Dixie and they were the home team. We didn't want to let the fans down. It was a dream come true and I have awesome memories. I have played with Meagan and Camille my whole life and I will miss them. I want to thank our coaches they are great friends. I have loved every minute of it. I want to thank everyone for coming to state. I want to thank Dennis Pearson for all the tournaments he took us to and to my parents for all they've done," said Rachel.
Camille Fehlberg was next and she said one of the articles written had said she had dreamed of a state championship since she first touched a basketball in fourth grade. She said that really wasn't true. In fourth grade she wanted to play major league baseball or football. One of her cousins had cool shoes and he played basketball so she decided to start playing basketball so she could have cool shoes. Camille remembered the times playing junior jazz with a skinny girl from Cleveland, (Rachel) and Meagan and a crazy coach named Dennis who was intense. They had a fun time, and a good year she recalled and won a junior jazz championship. As they moved onto junior high their best play was the full court pass for a lay-up underneath. She doesn't think she shot a jump shot until her sophomore year in high school. The first year in high school, they lost their play-off game and the next year they lost the state championship. "I am not an emotional person, but after that loss I was bawling like a baby for the seniors because I knew it was their last chance. We played a lot of summer ball and we've had a lot of support from people.
"The best part was being able to take a state championship this year with my best friends. We play on the court and also goof around off court. We have had a lot of fun experiences. I'd like to thank our coaches. The first time I met Coach Gordon, he was my Sunday School teacher. He is an awesome coach and we have had an amazing season. With back to back championship games we have some amazing coaches at this school," said Fehlberg.
|Coaches and team members congratulate team member Shalae Cox.|
Jodie Lundell was next, she spoke on how junior high rivals become high school friendships. "I will remember every moment I have spent with you. I am proud of you and what you have done to win. I want to thank the coaches and everyone who has supported these girls."
Coach Steven Gordon said, "About three years ago Mrs. Callahan approached me about coaching the girls basketball team and I told her I really didn't want to, but she said to think about it; so I called Coach Tuttle and he said 'let's do it,' and I called Coach Faimalo and he said, 'let's do it.
"So we did it. It's been nothing but fun. It's been a blast all three years. These are dedicated young ladies, they dedicated their summers to basketball. I don't have to worry about these girls. Sometimes I have to check the freshmen's report cards, but that's it. I want to thank the girls for making it fun and the coaches. We split up and I know they are teaching their group what I would be teaching them. I want to thank our wives for their support.
" I want to thank the parents for all the pre-game meals. The fans, it was so amazing to see as many fans as Dixie. I want to thank the administration and Willie for the music and slide show. I want to thank the papers for the coverage all year especially the Progress and Gary and Patsy, they've been with us all year. I am going to miss the Seniors I want them to know if they need anything at anytime they can come to me. I would do anything for them. We've had three good years with a 16-5 record the first year, 20-5 last year, and 22-3 this year, that's 58-13 over three years. Thanks for the memories and letting me be part of it," said Coach Gordon.
Coach Lynn Tuttle began by thanking the players, "I have nothing but respect for these players. I still remember 18 years ago and Coach Gordon hitting that half court three point shot that was nothing but net. From the tryouts in November to now, these girls have improved so much. They have an unbelievable work ethic. Thanks to the parents and the people who traveled to the games. Thanks for the dinners and the behind the scenes support. Thanks to our families and wives for their support."
Coach Jon Faimalo said he never remembered getting his butt kicked on three on three with the girls. "No one scored on me. It was the other guys fault if we lost." Faimalo talked about what it meant to be bona fide. He said the team showed up to every practice and to every game.
"It's been a pleasure. I had never seen a girls game. I never wanted to, never had the desire. The first day at practice the first year, the girls were jumping off the wrong foot and I thought 'holy smokes, what have we got ourselves into,' but Coach Gordon went back to the basics and the girls listened and respected him.
" It's a credit to the girls. Only a select few can call themselves state champs. I went to school with a kid at Snow and he was always reminding everyone that he was a state champ. I would like to thank my family and the administration. I love working with these coaches, they make it fun. But, it's the girls that bring me back. The bar has been set high for these girls," said Faimalo.
Principal Callahan said, "It doesn't get any better than this. We will put the trophy in the case and the new banner will be hung in the Spartan Center. Thanks for your support."