DANVILLE — Go ahead and scoff at Fisher's 16-14 record.
Go ahead and wonder how the Bunnies are playing for a Class 1A Schlarman Sectional championship on Friday night after beating CPCI 49-36 on Wednesday in a sectional semifinal at Shebby Gymnasium.
Fisher coach Ron Ragle has answers.
"Look at our schedule and some of the competition we play," Ragle said. "Yes, did we have some down time where we weren't playing very well? Absolutely. I wouldn't argue with that, and if they saw the game film, they wouldn't argue with me, either, but there were some games we lost that were against excellent basketball teams. We also beat some excellent basketball teams along the way."
Ragle and his Fisher players count CPCI in that category, and the Bunnies stifled the Timberwolves (21-9) with a matchup 2-3 zone all game. CPCI shot 13 of 46 (28 percent) from the field, including 6 of 18 (33 percent) from three-point range.
"In preparation for this game, we've been practicing against their zone for probably the past three or four weeks," CPCI coach Kevin Long said. "They did a good job of taking passing lanes away in the perimeter. Our bigs didn't seek gaps in the first half. When we did penetrate and get into the gaps, we either couldn't knock down shots or we made bad decisions. They outplayed us tonight."
The Bunnies — who won seven in a row during the regular season only to follow that with 10 straight losses — have now won three in a row at the most opportune time of the year and face Arthur (19-11) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"It's a big opportunity," said Parker Perrero, Fisher's senior guard who finished with seven points, six steals and three assists. "We understand we're not the underdogs, so we've got to take care of business."
Fisher led 20-16 at halftime and broke the game open in a memorable display of offensive efficiency. The Bunnies were 7 of 9 from the field in building their lead to 29-22 with 4:20 left after a layup by senior forward Taw Fredrickson off a nice feed by junior center Hans Carmien (six points, six rebounds).
"I got open, used a screen and came off of it hard," said Fredrickson, who added another key layup that put Fisher up 42-33 with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter. "A couple times they were late, but I fought through it. I tried making the layup, and if I didn't, I could draw the foul."
Fredrickson had 17 points, and Chapman added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Fisher trailed 9-8 at the end of the first quarter but outscored CPCI 9-0 in the first four minutes of the second quarter.
CPCI answered with a 7-0 run of its own as Sterling Young cut it to 17-16 with 1:47 left with his third three-pointer of the half. Young led CPCI with 12 points.
"We knew he was going to get some," Ragle said. "He's too good of a player not to, but we just needed to do a better job of rotating to find where he was and take another step."
The Bunnies limited CPCI forward Cole Hasselbring, the Timberwolves' leading scorer, to no points in the first half. Hasselbring finished with nine points but was plagued with foul trouble.
"That was huge," Chapman said. "The rotation was good. Our talking and communication could be a little bit better, but if we improve on that for the next game, I think we'll be really strong on defense."
Fisher — even with its somewhat-mediocre record — will look to win its second-ever sectional title Friday night. Most of the Bunnies' starters were in eighth grade when the Fisher 2008 team advanced to the Elite Eight.
"It's unbelievable," Chapman said. "I was looking up to (that group) when I was little and watching them play. Now, we get a chance to do what they did. It's exciting."