1993 state Champions:Team members, coaches, and managers are from left to right: Row 1 – Head Coach Johnny Farmer holding son Jordan, son Jonathan, Tonya Walker, Melissa Pierce, Jennifer Cooley, Julie Mealer, Tina Davis, Angie Taylor (manager), Assistant Coach Carla Sisson. Row 2 – Amy Green (manager), Renee Pelfrey, Melissa Holler, Katie Collins, Leslie Jabaley, Suzianne Green, Angela McDaris, April Pack, Shannon Dillinger, Melissa Clore (manager).
Until March 27, 1993, no Fannin County sports team had ever won a state championship. On that memorable date, the Fannin County High School girls basketball team defeated Gainesville High by the score of 43-39 to capture the first team championship in the history of the county. In recognition of that singular accomplishment, and their many successes along the way, the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to induct the 1993 Fannin County High School girls basketball team as members of the class of 2014.
The state championship game marked the fourth time that the Fannin girls defeated Gainesville in five games played between the two rivals that season. The teams split two regular season games, then Fannin defeated Gainesville in the championship game of the Sub-Region Tournament, the finals of the Region 8AA Tournament and finally in the State Championship Game. The Fannin County girls finished the season with a record of 27 wins and 4 losses.
The team was coached by Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame member Johnny Farmer. Farmer was assisted by Carla Sisson (Boutin), a former Rebel star player who will be inducted into the HOF as a member of the class of 2014.
The Championship Game was originally scheduled for Saturday, March 20, but an untimely snow storm left four inches of snow on the Macon Coliseum parking lot and surrounding streets, forcing the postponement of the Class AA Championship Game until the following Saturday. The wait heightened the anticipation for the game that, according to Coach Farmer, was “something our team, our community and I cannot comprehend right now”.
By the time the championship season of 1992-93 rolled around, the Fannin County girls teams had become established as a force to be reckoned with in Georgia Class AA basketball competition. During the previous four seasons, the Fannin girls had qualified for the state tournament three times, advancing as far as the Elite Eight in 1988-89 and 1991-92. Unlike the previous squads, however, the 92-93 team was strong across the board with no glaring weaknesses. The team could shoot, rebound, play tenacious defense, plus the senior leadership was strong and the team was well balanced. Each member of the starting five had a definite role to play and each girl played their assigned role very well.
The team was led by 5’ 11” senior post player, Julie Mealer. One of the finest players in Fannin County history, Mealer averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds per game in 1992-93. To recognize her accomplishments, the school has retired Mealer’s jersey, # 23, one of only four players to be so honored by the school. Mealer was ably assisted on the inside by another senior, Jennifer Cooley. Cooley did not score a lot of points but she was a fine rebounder and defensive player, always in the middle of action under the basket.
Three girls handled the duties at the wing positions. 5’ 11” junior Suzianne Green averaged 11 points per game and 5’ 7” senior Tina Davis scored at a 10 ppg clip. Davis and junior April Pack both started at one time or another at one of the wing spots. Pack was the best outside shooter on the team and was often called upon for action against teams playing a zone defense. In the state semi-final game against Mitchell-Baker High School, the Fannin girls found themselves facing a tightly-packed zone employed by a very athletic opponent. Pack came off the bench in this game to pour in 31 points, mostly on long jump shots over the defense. She had five three-point field goals in this game. Her shooting was the difference in a 54-52 Fannin victory.
The point guard, and conductor of the athletic symphony, was junior Shannon Dillinger. Dillinger was not a big point producer, but many feel that she was the co-MVP, along with Mealer, of the team due to her smooth execution in running the team.
Coach Johnny Farmer generally did not dig deeply into his bench, only seven different players saw action in the four State Tournament games, but the reserves on the 1992-93 team were talented and most would make their contributions in future seasons. Included were senior Melissa Pierce, a point guard who served as a valuable back up for Shannon Dillinger, sophomores Renee Pelfrey and Angela McDaris and freshmen Melissa Holler, Leslie Jabaley and Katie Collins. Senior Tonya Walker suffered a knee injury early in the season and saw only limited playing time toward the end of the regular season. Team managers were Amy Green, Angie Taylor and Melissa Clore.
The excellence of the 1992-93 team set the stage for a period of great success in girls basketball at Fannin County High School. Farmer would go on to register more than 500 victories at Fannin, including another girls State Championship in 1998-99.
The 1992-93 Fannin County girls were victorious in the following games: Copper Basin (2) – 86-37 and 72-36; Towns County (2) – 92-46 and 77-37; Union County (2) – 79-43 and 53-26; Lumpkin County (2) – 62-40 and 46-28; Murphy NC (3) – 51-49, 86-58 and 68-50; South Forsyth (2) – 76-50 and 69-35; Lovett (2) – 66-51 and 60-50; Pickens County (2) 78-53 and 66-42 in Sub-Region Tournament; Gilmer County (2) 55-46 and 39-33 in Sub-Region Tournament ; Gainesville (4) – 43-37, 64-56 (OT) in Sub-Region Tournament, 48-42 in Region Tournament and 43-39 in State Tournament; East Hall 53-32 in Region Tournament; Washington County 61-36 in State Tournament; Northwest Georgia 64-37 in State Tournament and Mitchell-Baker 54-52 in State Tournament. Losses were to Hayesville NC 44-46, Gilmer County 46-51, Pickens County 61-63 and Gainesville 61-64 (OT), all in the regular season.
The Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame welcomes the 1992-93 Fannin County High School girls basketball team to its membership roster of great local athletes.