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Four Fairland seniors reach 1,000-point milestone

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

PROCTORVILLE — When you talk about the importance of a strong senior class, you’re going to be talking for quite a while about the Fairland Dragons.
The senior class for Fairland has been an impressive group when it comes to basketball.
Three boys and one girl from the Fairland senior class racked up their 1,000th career points this season. Two boys — Kollin Van Horn and Isaiah Howell — also pulled down their 500th career rebound.
Collectively, Emily Chapman, Luke Thomas, Van Horn and Howell have amassed nearly 5,000 points between them.
“It’s something special. Not everybody does (scores 1,000 points) and to have both the boys and girls do it is something really specials,” said the 6-foot-8 Van Horn.
Howell and Thomas both eclipsed 1,000 career points on Jan. 5 against South Point. Howell grabbed his 500th career rebound this season on Dec. 9 against Waterford.
“It shows all the work we’ve put in pretty much since we were young. It’s a great accomplishment for me and all our teammates,” said Thomas.
Van Horn scored his 1,000th career point on Jan. 23 against Ironton and recorded his 500th career rebound this season at Huntington High on Dec. 21.
“It’s a great accomplishment. It shows that all four of us can share the ball and work together. Not a whole lot of kids have done it, so it’s something great to do,” said Van Horn.
“It just shows how much we’ve worked together. I’ve played with Luke pretty much my whole life. It shows our teamwork together.”
Howell moved to Fairland in middle school and wasn’t sure how he would be accepted into the group.
“It’s big time they just let me in and that I’m part of the family. I started playing AAU with them in the seventh grade,” said Howell.
And you can’t talk about the group without talking about the team success on the court.
The boys’ team was ranked fourth in the final Associated Press Division II poll with a 19-3 record. All four losses came in a Christmas tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The Dragons won their third straight Ohio Valley Conference title and currently have a 46-game winning streak in the league.
And last year the Dragons reached the Division III state tournament for the first time since 1961.
“It just shows how well we move the ball. Everybody scores. One night Keebo (Keedrick Cunningham) gets 20, one night Ty (Staten) gets 20. There could be a 1,000 anywhere. Any of our six guys could go anywhere and score 1,000. It just happens to be us three right now,” said Thomas of the other two seniors who round out the starting lineup.
The girls’ team is 21-2 and also won an OVC title this season after sharing it last year. The team is currently in the district semifinals.
Point guard Emily Chapman — four-year starter — was the first senior to reach 1,000 points when she scored 28 points at Portsmouth on Dec. 4. She also set a school record with 10 3-point goals as she scored 35 points on Feb. 5 at Chesapeake.
“It means a lot to me because my aunt Carrie (Hinkle) actually scored 1,000 points so I’ve always looked up to her. When I did it, it meant a lot to me and her. It was pretty great,” said Chapman.
She was glad to get her milestone out of the way and she had confidence in her male classmates.
“I just know how much work we’ve all put in when it comes to basket all. I knew they’d get it and I was excited for all of them,” said Chapman.
Chapman was a starter on the Fairland team her freshman season that reached the state tournament. She said her team has set the bar high for future teams.
“I think it’s awesome that we made a name for ourselves and everybody will remember us,” said Chapman.
The legacy of the boys’ team wasn’t lost on Van Horn, Thomas and Howell.
“Right now, it hasn’t hit a full affect, but in 20 or 30 years when I come back it’s going to be like, ‘Wow! There’s our banner up on the wall,’” said Thomas.
Howell, too, said this senior group will leave its mark on future teams.
“It’s big time. Not too many people have done it. It just shows the kids coming up they have to work hard,” said Howell.