Lunch-pail leader: Fisher does dirty work for Ohio University
A long scar on Tina Fisher's right knee tells a story of hard work and dedication.
Fisher, a 2009 Park graduate and Cottage Grove native, willed her way back from a serious knee injury her senior year of high school to become a key player for the Ohio University woman's basketball team.
A gritty, hard-working 6-foot, 1-inch senior post player, Fisher has started every game for Ohio this season and has appeared in every one of the Bobcats' games over the last four years.
"She's been a reason why I get fired up to go to practice every day," said Ohio assistant coach Patricia Charity, who works with the team's bigs. "She always comes with a smile and works as hard as she can. She really does all the little things that may not show up in the stats. Her attitude and work ethic is fantastic. I would be happy with a ton of Tinas."
While at Park High School, Fisher averaged 13.7 points and 7.8 rebounds for her career. She was a four-time all-Suburban East Conference award winner, was named all-state honorable mention as a junior and helped lead Park to the conference championship her sophomore and junior years. During her senior year, Fisher injured her knee in the first half of a 91-56 loss to Minneapolis South on Dec. 22, 2008. An MRI showed Fisher completely tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and suffered partial tears to her medial collateral ligament (MCL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). The injury did not affect Fisher's scholarship to Ohio, however.
"You can't say she's struggled with that, because she's been consistent and persistent over the years here -- coming in before practice, after practice, on days off -- taking care of her body," Ohio head coach Semeka Randall said. "That just shows the type of person Tina is. She's going to do whatever it takes to get the job done and go over and beyond the call of duty."
Fisher said it was "tough" rehabbing the injury, but it's now a distant memory.
"It took a little longer than I wanted it to feel like myself, but once I got back it's felt really good," Fisher said. "I haven't had any problems with it at all."
Fisher, who also lettered in soccer and track in high school, won the Park girls basketball team's "hustle award" five years in a row. She has carried that lunch-pail work ethic over to the college ranks.
"She's does the things that everyone else doesn't necessarily want to do - that's rebound, take charges, bang with the big girls and get the ball to people who are hitting shots," Charity said. "She can score, too, when she has the opportunity, but she's a very unselfish player. She's all about the team. She does whatever coach Randall asks her to do. That's what makes her unique. If you ask her to do anything, she's going to do her very best to do that -- whatever you ask her."
The Bobcats are 6-21 overall this season and 1-14 in the Mid-American Conference this season. Fisher has started all 27 of Ohio's 27 games this season, averaging 28.2 minutes per game, which is fourth on the team, while scoring 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
"You can always count on Tina playing and practicing with high energy and her attitude is always there," Randall said. "Despite not being able to win as many games as we wanted to, she hasn't changed. It's been fun watching her grow as a human being."
Randall said Fisher's work ethic and determination has set the bar for Ohio, saying she's been "a tremendous teammate."
"She leads by example," Randall said. "Her passion and hard work rubs off on our post players. She challenges people and they work at her tempo. It's been really fun to watch this young lady grow off the court as much as on the court, because you just see her future being so bright."
Fisher said playing Division 1 college basketball has been a fun challenge.
"I've learned a lot of life-lessons," Fisher said. "Playing college basketball you definitely learn how to manage your time. It's almost like a full-time job in a way. The biggest difference between college and high school is the speed of the game and the intensity of the practices. Also, you really do go year-round. A week after the season you're doing weights and conditioning. The best part is playing with my teammates. We all support each other and have each other's backs through thick and thin."
Fisher, 22, has been playing basketball since the second grade. However, her long basketball career is close to coming to an end. Ohio has one regular-season game remaining on its schedule - against rival Miami of Ohio on March 6. After that, the Bobcats compete in the Mid-American Conference tournament, which begins on March 9. Fisher, who is an exercise physiology major, has one more semester of school left after the spring. Beyond that, she hopes to enroll in physical therapy school.
"It's kind of bittersweet," Fisher said. "I'm ready to move on to the next part of my life, but it's going to be so weird without having basketball be part of it. I might have to find a way to stay involved in the game somehow."
THE TINA FISHER FILE:
-Ohio University senior
-6-foot, 1-inch post player
-Exercise physiology major
-Park 2009 graduate
-Started 27 of 27 games for Ohio this year
-Appeared in every game last four seasons for Ohio
-Scored a career-high 14 points on Nov. 8, 2012 in win over Wheeling Jesuit
-Daughter of Marty and Rene Fisher
-Has an older brother, Brandon, and a younger brother, Trevor