FAIRMONT, W.Va. – There’s a winning culture surrounding the Fairmont Senior basketball program.
Both the girls and boys teams have two state titles and have been in the state final five times in the past seven years. On many teams schedules, Fairmont Senior is one of the teams to beat.
“We always knew teams wanted to beat Fairmont Senior. Because we’ve always had a good team, even before I played, every year was a good team. It was pretty much like some teams super bowl. They wanted to beat us and if they beat us, that was their game of the year they’re happy with that,” Zyon Dobbs, a former Fairmont Senior player said.
“I mean a lot of teams for some reason just hate on us. We just kind of like take that to heart. Everytime we get on the court it’s like we’re battling for each other,” Jaelin Johnson, a current Fairmont Senior player said.
Fairmont Senior has produced multiple stand out players in the past few years as well. Zyon Dobbs, who transferred from James Madison to Fairmont State, Jalen Bridges, who plays at West Virginia University, and Jaelin Johnson, an All-State player who is announcing his college decision soon, to name a few.
But Fairmont, West Virginia still doesn’t get the credit it deserves when it comes to producing high quality basketball players.
Most people don’t think of the city as somewhere to recruit players, but those players and others, along with the programs continued success might eventually change that.
“When I went to James Madison in my first year, I told people I was from Fairmont, West Virginia and they didn’t believe me. They were like oh you seem like you’re from Maryland or New York or whatever. It took me to really like pull up where Fairmont, WV was and show them where I’m from and all of that. It just shows that it’s good to be able to get out. When you know you have talent in your area and you get out and you do your thing, it’s always good to see that,” Dobbs said.
“It just puts a chip on your shoulder to go out there and work harder and really show yourself and what you have. I mean a lot of people just doubt the kids from West Virginia and always say that we’re not good enough and we can’t do this and that so I mean just having that chip on your shoulder and going out there and competing and then the guys that do make it out it’s just really good to see guys from West Virginia be able to go on and play at the next level,” Johnson said.
But players say its a community unlike any other. It’s certain that once you’re apart of that Fairmont community, you’re in it for life.
“I mean we just all build a bond together. My team from freshman year, I talk to all of them still. It’s kind of a brotherhood we all have and it’s just the connection, we get out there and we just play for each other and it’s a good thing to be out there and represent Fairmont Senior, all of the sports and just the school and the whole community,” Johnson said.
“The community here is great. Even in high school, I always got a lot of love and then when I committed to play at Fairmont State it went up even more but the people here just show support. They come out, they know you, they’ll know you so it’s a great community here,” Dobbs said.