Kingsport Times-News: 'It’s truly a blessing to be on this team'
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'It’s truly a blessing to be on this team'

Kevin Mays • Mar 10, 2019 at 1:34 AM

RICHMOND — Four Wise Central seniors ended their playing careers the only way they knew how Saturday.

As state champions.

Central defeated Greensville County 57-34 on Saturday to win the VHSL Class 2 girls basketball championship at Virginia Commonwealth’s Siegel Center.

It was the fifth state title in six years for coach Robin Dotson’s Lady Warriors.

It was also the third straight state championship for seniors Dee Cvetnich, Brittany Mullins, Olivia Mullins and Brook Porter.

And it wasn’t lost on the quartet Saturday that the state championship game was the last time they would be playing together as Central basketball teammates.

A SPECIAL BOND

The foursome has played basketball together since elementary and middle school, and they’ve developed a bond that’s unshakable both on and off the court.

“They’re my sisters,” Olivia Mullins said while fighting back tears.

“I grew up playing with all of them. I’m blessed to know them. And to have played with them. And like Brook said, this is the fairytale ending of high school basketball.”

For Porter, though it’s an ending of the four’s prep basketball career, it’s not for their bonds of friendship.

“I have known these girls all my life,” she said. “We have a special bond and it really shows when we play basketball.”

“We’re just all best friends,” Brittany Mullins said. “We love to practice and we love to do everything together. We’re best friends inside and outside of basketball.

“We don’t mind to be around each other. We don’t mind to work hard. It’s truly a blessing to be on this team. And I wouldn’t want to be on any other team or be coached by any other coach. I’m just truly blessed.”

PLAYING FOR MC

For the fourth senior in the group, the season was one of mixed emotions.

Cvetnich’s strong work ethic and never-quit attitude were something she learned from basketball and inherited from her father, Mark Cvetnich, who filmed Lady Warriors games.

Congestive heart failure claimed Mark Cvetnich’s life in April.

The loss of her father is still something that Dee deals with daily, including Saturday after the state championship win.

The Lady Warriors wore an “MC” on their jerseys to honor Dee’s father and dedicated the season to his memory.

“These other seniors took it upon themselves before the season started ... you see our ‘MC,’ that’s Mark Cvetnich,” Dotson said. “We also had a seat up in our filming stand and put the number 42 (Dee’s jersey number) on it.

“Mark never had a bad word for anybody. Mark was the first person to tell each one of these girls they played a good game and that he loved them.”

Dee Cvetnich’s feelings toward her senior teammates mirrored those of the other three.

“We really are sisters. We’re a family,” Cvetnich said. “This is the best way we can go out.”

A COACH’S DREAM

Dotson has had several special teams during his 32-year career, and he’s the first to say that this season’s squad has been a very special one.

It has been an emotional season for everyone involved, including the VHSL Hall of Fame coach who has shed a tear or two when talking about his senior-led team.

“The biggest emotion is love,” Dotson said when describing his seniors. “They just love each other. I’ve not publicly said this, but this bunch, they would turn on me before they would turn on one of their teammates. That’s the love they have for each other and that’s been very special.”

It’s a special bond that has guided four seniors to three state crowns. More importantly, it’s a bond that extends far beyond the high school basketball court.

It’s a bond that only lifetime friends know.

It’s a bond that only sisters know.

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