|UC player better than ‘Fair’ in hoops |
|Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:15 pm |
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Having figured prominently in a season of firsts for the Union City High School basketball program, it’s only fitting that Amber Fair carved her own place in Lady Tornado program history.
Fair, a sophomore forward/center, became the first player in modern-day UC girls’ hoop history to be chosen as all-stater when the Tennessee Sports Writers Association announced its Class 1A team today.
Fair averaged team-bests 20.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.6 steals per game for the Lady Tornadoes, who earned a spot in a TSSAA-sponsored state tournament for the first time ever this past season.
UC won 22 games on its way to claiming a regional tournament championship, an inaugural victory at the sectional level and an opening-round triumph in the state tournament — all firsts in the otherwise undistinguished history of the program.
Prior to this season in the five-on-five era that began with the 1979-80 campaign, the Lady Tornado program had posted just 11 winning seasons and two more at .500 with 21 years of more-losses-than-wins results during that time.
“We’re in the process of changing the culture of girls’ basketball at Union City and I believe Amber’s class is, and will be, a huge part of that,” said third-year Union City head coach Eddie Suiter. “Obviously getting deeper into the postseason and playing with increased exposure on the biggest stage at the state tournament is signficant for both her and our entire program. It gives us all a sense of respectability and I think it really bodes well for the future.”
Fair and her offensive skill set made her a tough matchup both on the perimeter and in the post for Lady Tornado opponents.
She was at her best on the biggest stage, pouring in 37 points in UC’s sectional triumph over Adamsville and then tallied 25 points in just 11 minutes of playing time when the Twister girls recorded another history-making milestone in a first-round state tournament blowout of Wartburg.
Fair, who has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in her young career, was picked for the all-tourney team in her and her team’s Murphy Center debut and was also a member of both the all-distict and all-region teams as voted on by coaches.
For the season, she shot 49 percent overall from the field, including 30 percent from 3-point range. She made 63 percent of her attempts from the free throw line.
Suiter is convinced that even though she’s been impressive in her accomplishments to date, Fair’s best days are ahead of her.
“She’s still just a sophomore and has a lot of room for growth in her game,” the coach insisted.
“She came to us with some skills, but I think the big thing is that she wants to improve.
“The talent is there. The love of the game is there. She has great drive and wants to be in the gym. She has a competitor’s mentality. She knows there are facets of her game she needs to work on, and she’s focused on that.
“I’ll be surprised and disappointed if she doesn’t get a lot better.”
Suiter said he’s already seen growth with Fair from her freshman season through her sophmore campaign.
“I think she’s made great strides from a maturity standpoint. She’s learned to accept coaching and applied it at several spots in her game. That’s obviously going to make her much better as she continues to progress both physically and mentally,” he said.
A handful of UCHS players had achieved honorable mention for the all-state team, most recently among those being Chassidy Caldwell in 1993-94, Heather Clausen in 1989-90 and Amy Jackson in 1984-85.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.24.12