Greg Fawbush is the only head coach the Seffner Christian girls basketball team has ever had. In his 18 seasons at the helm, he has seen his team go to the regional finals many times, and even gone as far as the final four – in 2011 – once. He recently won his 300th game as the Crusaders head coach.
Even with the success he has already achieved, Fawbush might have his best team ever this year. Currently the Crusaders are 14-0, are averaging 68 points per game, and are outscoring opponents by an average of 43 points per game.
Even with the great start, Fawbush says the main goal isn't to go undefeated or win every game by a wide margin. The ultimate is goal is to return to Lakeland, home of the final four, and win the state title.
"Our goal every year is to win the state title," Fawbush said. "It's been building to this year and next year."
Currently the Crusaders use an up-tempo style, designed to create pressure on defenses and allow for opportunities in transition offense. And while Fawbush doesn't prefer the up-tempo style, he feels it is best for the talent he has on the team.
"You have to build an offense around the personnel that you have," he said. "It goes against who I am, but they like to get out and go."
Running an up-tempo style has been made easier by having players like Sabrina Whiting. Whiting, a junior, is also a member of the Seffner Christian cross country team, where she has finished as high as 18th place at a state meet.
"Sabrina is me on the court," Fawbush said.
Sam Plager is a senior and was on the team that went to the final four in 2011. She also enjoys the high pressure style.
"Every girl wants that up-tempo style, it's where our mind is at," she said.
Plager was on last year's squad, whose season ended with a loss in the regional championship. Like the rest of the team, she wants the season to end with a victory in Lakeland.
"This year we have more talent than in years past," she said. "The feeling we had in the locker room (after the loss in the regional championship) was awful. None of us want to have that feeling again."
Whiting and Plager are team captains along with senior Jaitesha Hanson. Fawbush is grateful for the leadership the trio brings to the team.
"They are great leaders, but we do have others. This is a greatly internally motivated team." Fawbush said. "If things are going wrong, they will stop practice and let everyone know."
With their motto of "Hustle, Heart, Desire," the Crusaders hope to lift the state title trophy at the end of the season. Plager knows it won't be easy, but she has the confidence that the team can do it.
"In years past we have had an underdog mentality. Now we don't look at ourselves as an underdog."