GRANT, La. (KPLC) - “I told those three seniors this year, look, I’m going to do everything I can to prepare you for that state championship,” Fairview head coach Kyle Jinks said. “You’re going to hate me during the year but at the end of the year you’re going to love me for it.”
45 games later, the Fairview Lady Panthers hoisted the state championship trophy for the twelfth time in school history with their play on defense leading them to the top of Class B.
“Defense is something you just have to have and I think we’ve had that every game we played and we really focus on that in practices a lot," Fairview senior guard Laynee Jinks said.
The Lady Panthers weren't a senior-laden group but one with a special relationship to Coach Jinks stood out all season long. His daughter Laynee led the Panthers and their relationship on the court is no different than the one he has with the rest of his players.
“I said hey if you want to get off that bench then you have to get better, that’s all there is to it," Jinks said of his daughter. "I think she’s done everything she could to get to the level she’s at right now.”
And it wasn't until recently when Laynee saw herself make true strides in her game, something she credits to constantly being around hoops.
“Growing up in all of this I really got better by coming up to the gym every day and working hard,” Laynee Jinks added. “I think it was around my tenth grade year where I realized I could really be a good player if I put myself up to it.”
And this season was when everything came full circle. Jinks was Fairview’s top scoring threat and was named the most outstanding player after averaging nearly 18 points per game during the state tournament.
“The year I came on the team was our first year losing since winning eight in a row and every year I was on the team I haven’t won one and winning this one was just an amazing feeling,” the senior admitted.
And with plenty of youth coming up in Grant, Jinks is hopeful the trophy case will continue to fill up.
“I hope we can continue this in our program but nothing is guaranteed and there are a lot of good teams coming back up," said Jinks of continuing success on the court. "I’m real proud of this team and this program and the parents that let me coach their kids and my daughter and the three seniors that gave me everything they had this year. I’m real proud of them.”