Bethany Christian, Fairfield girls hoops teams looking to bring home state titles on Saturday

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 8:48 PM EST
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INDIANAPOLIS (WNDU) - One more sleep separates Bethany Christian and Fairfield from making their first appearances in an IHSAA girls basketball state final on Saturday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

A win for either team — Class 1A for Bethany Christian, Class 3A for Fairfield — would be the first state championship for the schools in any sport.

The Bruins will take on Lanesville, the top-ranked team in 1A, while the Falcons will face Corydon Central, the sixth-ranked team in 3A.

Bethany Christian Head Coach Krysten Parson admitted earlier this week that the goal for the season was a run in the tournament, but not a run to the pinnacle of high school basketball in the Hoosier state.

And this is new territory for everyone involved with the team. No coach on the staff has sectional title experience as a player or coach. So, with so much in front of them that’s new, how do they prepare for the last game of the season?

“We try to do things the way we’ve always done them. We just try to make adjustments,” Parson said. “So, we’re not doing fancy parties or all this stuff that we don’t normally do in the season, but we might tweak how we prepare and how we run our practices, and it’s worked so far.”

Parson’s players agree.

“Living in the present. And we’ve got a lot of attention this week, so (Parson) just tells us live in the present and don’t complain about if you have to answer a text or answer a tweet because not many people in the state can do that right now,” said Mariah Stoltzfus, junior guard.

“We’ve been talking a lot about how we define who we are,” said Kiersten Todd, senior forward. “And while this is a higher stakes game, at the end of the day, we define who we are, and it’s not what other people say. It’s how we represent ourselves out on the court.”

As for the Fairfield Falcons, they’ve been led by a core of four seniors who have been playing together since grade school.

It’s also a family affair for head coach Brodie Garber, assistant coach Amy Garber, and one of their senior forwards, Brea Garber. But win or lose on Saturday, their time together will come to an end.

The Garber’s touched on their relationship during Fairfield’s media day.

“One thing, it’s great that it’s the last game,” Brodie said. “It didn’t pop up on its own, like we lost in Regionals, and not just to coach her, but to have Amy, my wife throughout this whole process. I feel like we’ve done it the right way.

“We got at it when we’re at practice,” he added. “But you know what, when we go home, we’re Mom, we’re Dad, we’re daughter. I really honestly feel like we’ve done a good job of that, and that makes it feel even better.”

Brea concurred.

“We really make it work,” she said. “We’re business on the court. He’s my coach. He gets on me at games and practices. And then outside of practice, it’s just a father-daughter relationship, which is really special.”

Bethany Christian’s matchup against Lanesville tips off at 10:30 a.m., while Fairfield is set to tip off against Corydon Central at 6 p.m.

All four state championship games on Saturday will stream on via pay-per-view for $15 per game or $20 for all games.

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