By Jarrod Harris
Times West Virginian
The seniors of Fairmont Senior High School’s basketball team — Travon Horton, Shaquille Washington and DeVante’ Waites — fought and battled to the bitter end.
At the start of the season, the Polar Bears were dealt a terrible card.
FSHS began the season 0-2. Both losses came at home — to University, 82-67, and North Marion, 77-74.
“It was a unique season,” Fairmont Senior head coach Dave Retton said. “One we all had high hopes for in this season. I think I misread our team early in the season. It caused us to get off to such a slow start. We started out 0-2, which with some teams that might cause some self doubt. But to our players’ credit, there was never a doubt. They stayed the course and through little bumps here and there, the team always battled back.
“I think that was one of the special qualities of the team is how it managed rough patches of the season. They did that and I think that was one of the big things as to why we advanced to the state championship game and had a shot at winning the title.”
Although the losses came early, the Polar Bears were able to complete a 14-1 record following the first two losses of the season.
Keeping the team together were the three seniors. Horton at times was unstoppable on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball; Washington was a beast inside, tallying around 10 rebounds per game; and Waites was the team’s general at point, knocking down clutch shots and distributing the ball evenly to his teammates.
“I can’t say enough about our seniors and what they gave over the course of not just this year, but of the course of their four years,” Retton said. “Sometimes some people don’t see the work that these kids put in. They don’t see the running after school, or the lifting, or the three-week period of going to various camps.