Team get-together helps Fisher iron it out

ARMSTRONG — Three weeks ago, Fisher held a players-only practice.

Reeling from a double-digit loss Jan. 27 at Heyworth and in the midst of what became a 10-game losing streak, the Bunnies were searching.

Searching for any kind of resolution to the woes that had plagued the team since winning the Hayden's Classic in December.

Friday night, Fisher may have found the answer.

The top-seeded Bunnies spoiled third- seeded Urbana University High's first regional final appearance in the program's 87-year history with a 39-24 win to claim the Class 1A Armstrong-Potomac Regional.

"It felt like a turning point," Fisher senior Dylan Chapman said of the Bunnies' players-only practice Jan. 28. "We didn't win a lot of games after that, but I think we got our heads screwed on straight. We added chemistry and leadership to the team after that practice. It's been better ever since."

Chapman had 16 points, including three three-pointers, and five rebounds on a night where both teams' defenses played strong.

Fisher struggled offensively (16-of-51 shooting) but went 6 of 10 in the fourth quarter.

"We finally relaxed," Fisher coach Ron Ragle said.

Boyd Estes had four points and five steals for the Bunnies, who harassed Uni High with its matchup 1-3-1 zone.

"Our defense basically kept us in it," Estes said. "If they started hitting shots, it could have been a different story tonight."

Uni's Tahar Bowen-Pinto had nine points and five rebounds.

While disappointed with the outcome, Uni coach Al Renner knew how historic this past week was for the program and the school.

"It's a special group of guys that we have here in that senior class," Renner said. "We have 12 seniors, and they work together and push each other. (Fisher) whooped our butts earlier this year. We're a lot stronger, but that was still our downfall tonight. We weren't strong enough."

Fisher has back-to-back regional titles for the second time in school history. The other time came in 1988-89 when current Fisher girls' basketball head coach Ken Ingold coached the Bunnies' boys team.

"Ingold's been bragging about winning two in a row for so long," senior Taw Fredrickson (seven points, four steals) said with a laugh. "We finally did it. He came up to me after the game and told me congratulations and that we caught up with him."

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