Fairview Panthers are making history

By Tom Annino - bio | email


22 years ago.

That was the last time the Fairview Panthers boys' basketball team made it to the Top 28 state tournament.

Now they are just one win away from reaching the Class B state title game.

A win over Rapides in the semi-final round would get the Panthers to the biggest high school basketball game of the year.

Their head coach Ron Stark says no matter what happens from here, this season has been a huge success.

"The pressure was to get to the Top 28 Tournament," Stark said.  "Now all of this is just extra.  Whatever we can do is just a little more gravy on the top."

His players are happy with making an appearance in Lafayette this year, but they want more.

"We're not satisfied with just making it to the Top 28.  We want to win it," Fairview guard Cody Neal said.  "We have the capability; we have the team, the components of what it takes.  We're not going to be satisfied unless we bring back the ring."

One member of the Fairview Panthers might be especially emotional about this postseason run.  Point guard Colby Marler's father Larry "Hearn" Marler was the point guard for the 1988 Fairview team, the last to make it to the Top 28 tournament.  Larry Marler passed away in 2006.  Colby is sure his father would be very proud of what this team has already done.

"It means the world to me," Marler said.  "I know my father's proud we've made it.  But he wouldn't want us to be satisfied.  He taught us to have that fighting spirit and that hunger.  We're going to keep that as we go in."

As for what's going to happen against Rapides, Marler says be ready for the unexpected.

"This is one game.  Anything can happen," Marler said.  "Anybody can win on any given night.  That's what our coach always tells us.  I can guarantee we're going to be fighting hard.  I can guarantee you that."

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