Throughout the season, Glacier Peak coach Brian Hill had his players compete at practice in a highly competitive drill in which to get off the court, a player had to beat her opponent.
They called it the shell drill. Scores were kept and time was added if the defender couldn’t make a stop.
Safe to say, no one loved facing senior guard Samantha Fatkin.
“If she is on offense, she is going to take it at you, and she doesn’t care how much she scores against you,” Hill said. “If you can’t get off the court, you have to try harder. If she is on the defensive end, she will do whatever she can do to stop you. That’s because she likes to win, and she knows that is what makes her better and the team better. That’s her competitiveness right there.”
Fatkin was merciless, especially against talented teammate Paisley Johnson. Fatkin recalled one instance where Hill had to abruptly end the drill because Fatkin and Johnson were getting too heated.
Whether it was Glacier Peak’s shell drill or Fatkin as a youth staying up until midnight competing against kids in her neighborhood before waking up at 6 a.m. the next morning to finish the competition, the Grizzlies point guard has always brimmed with competitive fire.
It showed throughout Glacier Peak’s run to the Class 4A state championship game, and Fatkin’s drive to be the best fueled what Hill described as one of the most impressive offseasons he has ever seen.
Fatkin finished her senior season averaging 14.4 points per game, 7.2 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 steals. She was an All-Wesco 4A first-team selection and guided her Grizzlies to a 24-2 record and a second-place state finish.
Fatkin, who’s headed to play basketball at the University of Arizona next year, has been selected The Everett Herald’s 2017 Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“It was special,” Fatkin said of getting to the Tacoma Dome, a goal Glacier Peak had narrowly missed out on in Fatkin’s first three seasons. “It was so cool, a dream come true. It’s something we worked for since freshman year. I think we had the potential every year, but we just fell short.”
Fatkin’s absence during the second half of the season last year had a lot to do with that. She suffered a foot injury that left her looking on as Glacier Peak came up just shy of a Tacoma Dome trip, but once healed, Fatkin set out to elevate her game to a new level.
She first enlisted the help of Glacier Peak’s football coach, who Fatkin said taught her how to lift weights. She coupled that training with countless hours in the gym.
“I was in the gym every single day, every time I could be,” Fatkin said. “I would get in before school at 5 a.m., go into the gym and get shots up. After (school) I’d be in the weight room and at night train and practice with my select team.”
That equated to 6 to 8 hours a day Fatkin spent honing her game. She developed tremendous confidence and outstanding court awareness, which led to Fatkin breaking the single-season school record for assists.
“It was one of the biggest changes in becoming an all-around better basketball player that I have seen,” Hill said. “First and foremost it was confidence. It was one of those things where you just see it, and one of those where she says, ‘I am going to score. I am going to do this,’ and it happens.”