Contributed Photo: Lee Haws, left, and Jasmine Olivar have been named the 1A Conference Coach of the Year and Player of the Year, respectively.
By Jon Johnson
FORT THOMAS – Fourteen years ago, Lee Haws began coaching the Fort Thomas girls basketball team. That same year, Jasmine Olivar was born. This year, the pair teamed to bring glory to the Fort Thomas girls basketball team and the 1A State Championship.
After finishing 20-2 for the season (4-0 region, 12-1 conference) and bringing the gold basketball and a 1A state title back to Fort Thomas, Haws and Olivar were named the 1A Conference State Coach of the Year and Player of the Year, respectively.
Fort Thomas destroyed teams all year with its only conference loss to Leading Edge Academy-Gilbert (43-57) early in the season (Jan. 29). The other loss was to 2A Champion Pima, 53-69, on Feb. 6.
The Apaches cruised through the state playoffs, dispatching Salome 54-21, St. David 56-46, St. Michael 51-36, and then blew out Mogollon in the championship, 56-29.
“It’s a humbling experience coaching these kids,” Haws told the Gila Herald. “We’ve been so close in the past winning, this year was special and humbling. The girls were a lot of fun to coach, and despite COVID-19, they came ready to compete every game, played hard this year, and winning the championship was special . . . Hopefully, we can keep it rolling!”
The year was extra special to Haws as it was the last year to coach his daughter, Kyia Haws, who was also recognized by the Arizona Interscholastic Association and was named to the 1A All-Conference Team, along with teammate Chasinee Stanley.
As a freshman, Olivar led Fort Thomas and averaged 14.7 points and 4.8 assists per game for the season.
She is currently playing club ball with the Arizona Elite 15-under team, which just went 4-0 in a tournament in Alabama, with Olivar getting a steal and bucket at the end of one of the games for the win.
“Jasmine is a great kid and special player,” Lee Haws said. “She works hard and is a great teammate! She takes pride in everything she does and is so humble.”