FAIRHPOE, Ala. (WKRG) – “It makes us look like geniuses but it really has everything to do with the kids,” said Fairhope basketball coach Solomon Johnson. “You can be the smartest coach in the room but if your guys can’t put the ball in the basket you won’t do as well.”
The Pirates are currently 17-0 and one of the top 7A teams in the state.
“A lot of people say talent gets you far, but for us it’s been our chemistry that got us this far,” said Riley Leonard.
“We’ve never been a basketball school. We had Tevin Brown, an amazing player, come through here but even then there wasn’t deep playoff runs. It’s been hard to win up north. It’s just exciting to do this for the first time,” said junior Hunter Ivy.
The Pirates have a chance to make history this year, but for now Coach Johnson is making sure his players are taking things day-to-day.
“You just want to keep your guys focused on a singular goal,” said Coach Johnson. “You need to make sure they know they’re playing for something bigger than themselves.”
Fairhope made a deep playoff run last year, losing to Mountain Brook in the Final Four.
“I think the kids, having that experience, being in that arena, they understand the pressure on them. Now when we get a chance to hopefully go again, it shouldn’t be as much of a shock to them,” said Coach Johnson.
The Pirates hope they can draw on that experience to bring home a title in March.
“It’s great to get another chance at a state championship, we didn’t get a chance in football. This is my last chance to get a ring and hopefully I can bring one back to Fairhope,” said Leonard.
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