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By blood and by basketball: Family ties help Midview girls basketball make school history

Team eyeing first-ever state title
Midview girl's basketball
Posted at 12:42 PM, Mar 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 19:22:28-05

GRAFTON, Ohio — A spectacular season has turned into a historic one for the Midview High School girls basketball team, who have made it farther than ever in the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs and are looking for their first state championship in program history.

This year has been impressive for the Middies, who have complied a 23-4 record with an 11-3 conference record this season. The team credits their chemistry for the success.

"Their chemistry, they're with each other all the time, seven days a week," said head coach Brittney McNamara. "They just really love each other. I told the girls at the beginning of the year, 'My job is to love you, your job is to love each other,' and they really embody that."

The girls on the team consider themselves one big family, working together daily to better themselves and let the work shown on the court.

But helping the chemistry bloom has been the longtime connection between three of the team's starters—who are quite literally one big family.

"Basketball teams are already kind of like a family. And then you add an actual family to it. It really helps," McNamara said.

The DiFranco family—Olivia and Mya, who are sisters, and their cousin Leah—are deeply rooted Middies. Olivia, truly led the team to success with a thousand-point season in her junior year and is on pace to become the all-time leading scorer at Midview.

"It's great to be able to play with them. Obviously, my sister and my cousin and to have my dad as one of the coaches, it means the world just have family surrounding you and just the team aspect of it," Olivia said.

The girls have discussed playing together for years, and now with this season going the way it does, their goals have been reached in a way that they didn't imagine.

"Now to get to this point and we actually did something that we thought was unimaginable—to get to this point together is definitely like full circle and everything we have ever talked about," Mya said.

Their connections have seeped into the rest of the team, too. The Middies are a close-knit group. They hold themselves accountable and boost each other to get the results that have now sent them to the OHSAA Final Four in Dayton.

For the girls, this moment means everything because the school hasn't seen this kind of season before. Ever.

"Never won a district, never won a regional, and they've never been to State," McNamara said.

That changed this year. The banner that hangs in the gym with blank spaces under district and regional championships won't be blank for much longer. Soon, they'll add '23 to the canvas and this year's team will forever live in the school's record books.

But there's still one goal left to achieve—hanging a new banner, one for the Ohio State Championship—which they have a shot at starting Friday. The Middies will face Cincinnati Princeton at 6 p.m. at the University of Dayton Arena in the State Semifinals.

The Middies, just two games away from a potential state title, know the stakes, and while McNamara gave a speech to the girls after their final home practice reminding them to live in the moment and just have fun—winning it all would no doubt mean the world to the girls, their coach, and the community.

"It's incredible just to be here, but to be able to get that next level, that state championship that not many people get to get, would be huge, would be incredible," McNamara said.

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