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Fairland's Stapleton player of the year

Mar. 14, 2013 @ 11:50 PM

PROCTORVILLE, Ohio -- The Fairland girls' basketball team was showered with honors this week, as junior Terra Stapleton was named Player of the Year and first team all-state by The Associated Press.

Stapleton's coach, Jon Buchanan, was named coach of the year, and guard Chandler Fulks received honorable mention on the all-state list.

"We were kind of shocked," Buchanan said of the news. "This state is loaded with great players, and to be honored with player of the year is a huge honor, especially when you consider Terra is still a junior."

The 6-foot-4 Stapleton, who has verbally committed to the University of Minnesota, led the Dragons to a 23-1 season.

The team's only loss ended its season, as it came in the regional round of the Division III State Tournament.

Buchanan, only half-joking, said he felt like no other player in the state was more analyzed by the opposition than Stapleton.

"I feel like she's the most game-planned kid anybody's got," he said. "We would laugh about it because we haven't seen so many different defenses in our lives. It'll be hard next year to throw something at us that we haven't seen."

"Some of them were pretty odd," Stapleton added. "Some we kind of figured a team would try to do like a box and one. Whatever it was, we would figure it out and get through it."

Surprisingly, it was straight man defense with occasional double teams that held Stapleton in check in the playoff loss to Johnstown-Monroe, though really she was affected more by foul trouble.

Stapleton said the loss was a learning experience and a motivating factor to get better.

"We get knocked down, we come back stronger with more experience, that's all it is," she said. "We know what we're facing, and our team spirit and chemistry is there.

"The goal is always to go further. Go big or go home."

Though she would have liked to have made a deeper run into the playoffs, Stapleton said it was a true honor to be named player of the year.

"It's very exciting," she said. "I worked very hard for it and I'm very proud to have accomplished that as a junior."

Stapleton said the honors, and Fulks' honorable mention were indications of what a good program Fairland has assembled.

"We might be a small school, but we've got a lot of talent," she said. "It's the whole team. I'm pretty sure if I was the only one out there we'd lose."

Buchanan offered similar thoughts about his recognition as coach of the year.

"It means a lot," he said. "Absolutely it's an honor, but you know what it really means? It means you have really good players and really good assistants."