As Blanchet’s Michelle Augustavo lined up to take two nail-in-the-coffin free throws in Tuesday’s season-ending basketball game – with less than one second showing on the clock – Spartan senior guard Fab Rezayat had a vision.
“The last four years flashed in front of me,” she said. “It was really sad. I didn’t want things to end, especially not like that.”
Rezayat, who became a late-season starter as a freshman on the 1999 state championship team, was a vital part of the squads that played in the state tournament as a sophomore and junior.
“It was my dream to finish my basketball career at State,” she said.
It certainly would have been a fitting end for the young woman who has been team co-captain since her sophomore year, and the additional games might have allowed her to pass Christina Marshall and set a new school record for games played.
Over the years, her role changed. “As a freshman, my job was to show up for practice, play hard and follow the seniors,” she said. “Now, as a senior, I was the one the younger kids looked up to. I enjoyed that more than when I was a freshman.”
She noted that of her four teams, the state championship squad was remarkable for its dedication. “I haven’t had another team to match the intensity and drive that that team had.”
This year’s team was notable in another way.
“We got along better than any other team,” she said. “The six sophomores were all good friends, and so were the four seniors. We had a lot of interests in common, and we did lots of stuff together – going to movies, renting videos. Definitely a fun group of girls.”
The togetherness helped them get through Tuesday’s post-game bitterness.
“A lot of people were crying in the locker room,” she said. “It was a devastating feeling. It was hard to grasp that I was taking off my jersey, knowing I’d never put it back on.
“But there was no finger-pointing. We won as a team, and we lost as a team.”
But there is a state tournament – perhaps even another state championship – in Rezayat’s immediate future. A national-class soccer player, she and fellow islander Suzanne Fossum are members of Seattle-based Emerald City FC, a team that’s ranked twelfth nationally and plays tomorrow in girls U-18 Snickers Cup semi-finals. A win puts them into the following week’s finals.
When Snickers Cup action is over, Rezayat won’t be at a loss for something to do.
Soccer is a year-round proposition. She also plays in a Seattle basketball league with Spartan teammate Alice Russell, and that will continue as well.
She may also look for a part-time job.
And, finally, she’ll have time to begin to decide her future.
“I’ve put coaches off until basketball season ended,” she said. “Now I can figure out where I’m going to school and what I’m going to play, soccer or basketball or both.”
She has plenty of options.
“I’ve applied to the UW,” she said. “I’ve also talked to the soccer coach at Long Island University. Maybe UCSB.”
Getting in academically won’t be a problem. She takes AP courses such as calculus and maintains a 3.6 GPA despite a killer schedule that involves twice-weekly trips to Seattle after basketball practice.
Catching the 7 p.m. ferry, she practices with her soccer team from 8-9:30, then hustles back to catch the 9:50.
“You get used to it,” she shrugs. “It’s been my lifestyle for four years.”
Now that lifestyle is coming to an end.
“Four years go faster than you think they do,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like it was four years ago that we won State. It’ll hit me harder when State starts next week and we’re not a part of it. I’ll miss playing here with this coach.”
And “this coach” – Penny Gienger – as well as Spartan fans will miss the fire and passion that Fab Rezayat brought with her to 96 Bainbridge basketball games.