2021 Fairview girls basketball picture

Members of the Fairview girls basketball team are (front row, from left) manager Grace Zeedyk, manager Stella Brown and manager Lilah Brown; (middle) Bethany Shininger, Allison Rhodes, Kelly Crites, Haley Hammer and Sydney Merritt; (back) coach Russell Zeedyk, assistant coach Nikki Grine, Kayla Mavis, Bethany Singer, Carrie Zeedyk, Kaitlyn Zeedyk and assistant coach Allison Ciolek. Not pictured: Alexis Taylor.

SHERWOOD — Fairview’s girls basketball team has set the bar high with back-to-back Division III district runner-up finishes and a Green Meadows Conference crown a year ago.

Although the Apaches might have a few bumps in the road early in the 2021-22 campaign, head coach Russell Zeedyk is hoping his team can build momentum as it gains experience throughout the year.

“We lost a lot to graduation last year and then we’re battling some injuries starting out, so I think the first part of the season’s going to be tough for us to get going,” said Zeedyk, who enters his fourth season at Fairview with a 55-16 record. “We need to just focus on doing what we can control and going out and trying to compete until we get everybody back and get going full swing hopefully by Christmas.”

Fairview finished 21-4 overall last season, including a perfect 7-0 in winning its first GMC championship since 2005. The Apaches finished district runner-up to Ottawa-Glandorf for the second consecutive season after losing to the Titans 47-38 in a district final.

Three letterwinners headline a young Apaches team that has just one senior and two juniors on the roster.

Carrie Zeedyk, a first-team all-GMC and honorable mention all-Northwest District selection a year ago, returns for the Apaches. The 5-foot-2 junior point guard averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals a year ago.

Sophomore forward Kelly Crites (5-11) averaged 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.4 assists for Fairview, while junior forward Allison Rhodes (5-11), who is battling an injury, chipped in 5.5 points and 3.2 boards per contest.

The three players competed with a talented 2021 senior class that included GMC player of the year and special mention all-Ohioan Kiersten Cline (11.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.4 spg), Karrie Smith (9.6 ppg), Olivia Ricica (2.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and Cassie Mavis (2.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg).

“(Success) kind of breeds itself and these girls have been around it,” Russell Zeedyk said. “Obviously having the class we had last year and a lot of these girls got to play with them for a couple years, so we’re hoping they build on that and come back. We want them to get used to winning.

“I think that’s important for a program to have it mixed in there with some younger players, getting experience with some of the older and obviously really good players from last year. So I think that helps build the program so every year you’ve got a little bit of seed coming back to try to keep the tradition going.”

Sophomores Alexis Taylor (5-10) and Haley Hammer (5-7) are expected to make an impact this season for Fairview. Senior Kaitlyn Zeedyk (5-5), sophomores Bethany Singer (5-1) and Sydney Merritt (5-6) and freshmen Bethany Shininger (5-6) and Kayla Mavis (5-6) could play big roles as well as the season progresses.

“That’s one of our weaknesses I think for this year is our depth. We only really have about four to five varsity players and a couple of them coming back, but with some injuries, we’re going to start off the season with basically two coming back,” Russell Zeedyk said. “So I think just getting off to a start and if we do struggle at the beginning, not letting that get us down.”

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