The Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation
Hall of Fame Archives
Harbor great Chris Fitting headed to ACBF HOF Sunday
By KARL PEARSON
This winter has tested all the disciplines Chris Fitting learned
on the basketball court for the Harbor Mariners girls basketball
"We worked a lot of 12-hour days, sometimes seven days a week,"
Fitting said of her work out of the Ohio Department of
Transportation facilities on West Avenue, which she has done for the
past 11 years. "It was a long, rough, busy winter. It was a lot
busier than last winter.
"We'd go in at 1 in the morning and get done at 1:30 in the
afternoon. At least I got to stay in the parts room most of the
time and I was able to stay warm, but every now and then I had to go
out and plow snow."
Such long hours can be difficult to handle.
"I work with five mechanics and a supervisor," Fitting noted. "We
all have to get along. The stress level can get pretty high. You
have to learn to be patient.
"You have to realize that everybody has a bad day now and then or
that somebody may not be feeling the best. It's all about working
together and teamwork."
When she roamed the courts for Frank Roskovics' Harbor basketball
and volleyball teams from 1981-84, Fitting was all about teamwork
and making sure other people shared in the glory. She played in an
era when Harbor basketball was at its best, compiling a 56-13
record, three sectional championships and finished as district
runners-up her junior year.
Playing point guard for the Mariners, Fitting was named the 1983-84
Regional Press Ashtabula County and Coaches' Northeastern Conference
Player of the Year after leading Harbor to an NEC co-championship
with Conneaut. As a senior that year, Fitting averaged 16.5 points,
5.4 rebounds and 5.1 steals a game.
Her ability to get other people involved in the game, dishing out
472 career assists and stealing the ball 278, is one of the reasons
Fitting is joining Roskovics in the Ashtabula County Basketball
Foundation Hall of Fame on April 10 at the Conneaut Human Resources
Center. It's also what helped the Mariners' center of that era,
Roberta Cevera, enter the hall with her this year.
"Chris was one of our better all-around athletes," Roskovics
said. "She had a lot of ability and wasn't afraid to go
inside. Chris took charge on the floor.
"We were fortunate to have two super athletes come along at the same
time. And they had a strong supporting cast."
Jodi Brockway, Jo Wisuri and Tina Palm were among the other big
contributors for Harbor during those years.
"That was too many years ago," Fitting said. "I remember we had a
good time. We played well together, and we were pretty competitive
the year we were co-champions with Conneaut. That was really fun."
So she is a bit stunned by her induction into the hall of fame.
"It's hard to believe," Fitting said. "I still haven't quite got
used to that idea.
"It's hard to think of myself that way. I'm just glad to be
Fitting was more concerned with creating opportunities for others
than with padding her own statistics.
"In our system, my job was to get assists and feed our center and
forwards," she said.
But Fitting knew she had to take her shot, too, and she wasn't shy
about it it. During her four-year career, she amassed 1,218 points,
which ranked fourth in career scoring among Ashtabula County girls
when she graduated. Today, Fitting still ranks 13th of the 21 girls
who are Grand Players in the county.
When Fitting was in school, girls sports in the area were just
starting to come of age and interest in the girls events was
"The game sure has progressed. (Girls basketball) seems to be
getting bigger," Fitting said. "When we played, it was basically
the parents and the boyfriends who came to the games. But the place
was always packed for the boys games.
"They didn't have the three-point basket when we played," Fitting
said. "I miss basketball. I like seeing the women's game
grow. There was no WNBA back then."
She had to learn to hold her own in a competitive family in which
she is still the "baby" despite her 39 years.
"I grew up being picked on by my brother, Gary," she said.
Her brother, the second child, now lives in Tennessee. Her sister,
Kim Larko, is the oldest of the four Fitting children and lives in
Kingsville. The third child, Karen Seier, lives in Boardman.
Basketball remains her favorite sport even though she has pretty
much retired from athletic endeavors.
"I had to stop pretty much after I had back surgery a while ago,"
Fitting said. "I just enjoyed playing the game, and I stuck with
it. Individual sports are good for building yourself up. But there
seems to be more competitiveness when you're on a team."
She is equally sure the chance to participate in sports was a good
thing for her and for other students.
"It helped keep me in shape and out of trouble," Fitting
said. "It's good for kids, and keeps them out of trouble."
Fitting's interest in sports didn't end with graduation. A fixture
on the local diamonds for many years, Fitting didn't give up
softball until the season ended last year. Working construction and
playing ball finally got to be too much.
She still very much enjoys the outdoors. Now, she gets her time
outside helping her father, Fred, with work at the family's trailer
park in Saybrook Township, which is owned by her grandmother. Her
mother, Marge, died in 1990.
"My dad helps take care of things at the trailer park," Fitting
said. "I've been helping him out lately."
She knows the disciplines she learned at Harbor will come into play
again this summer. She knows there will be plenty of work
ahead. She hopes people will exercise some of the patience she has
to as ODOT crews work on repairing potholes and the like.
"People don't like us," Fitting said. "They need to realize we're
trying to do a job. They need to give us a minute, and we'll get
them on their way."