Family ties lead Pavlansky to Golden Flashes

Special to Tribune Chronicle Annie Pavlansky, center, poses for a picture with her father, Tom, right, and mother Kate, left, after signing a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Kent State University.

Annie Pavlansky picked up a basketball when she was about 4 years old.

She’s had trouble letting it go, and still does.

Last season, Kent State’s women’s basketball team took notice. That’s why the Golden Flashes offered her a scholarship, and the Lakeview High School senior signed a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday morning to play wing. The 6-foot senior is versatile enough to play anywhere from power forward to shooting guard as well.

Her father, Tom, coach of the Lakeview football team, coached her in basketball when she was in kindergarten through sixth grade. He noticed one day, around fourth grade, that Annie made a play with her left hand. Her dominant one is her right.

Tom told his wife, Kate, he was intrigued.

“Who knows? She may be able to make something out of this,” Tom told Kate.

Annie’s uncle, Pat, is the former girls basketball coach at Canfield. Annie went to his camps when she was in first grade.

“He said, ‘You want to keep the ball in her hands,’ “ Tom recalled. “She’s got some ability.”

Pat also coached on the boys side and was the Canfield junior varsity coach for current KSU women’s coach Todd Starkey. That Canfield connection had no influence on her decision to become a Golden Flash.

“Both my uncle Pat and my dad have had a tremendous impact on the kind of basketball player I am today,” Annie said.

Tom said Annie is a driven player. She likes practices and isn’t afraid of hard work — motivated to get better.

As much as her dad and her uncle have influenced her on the basketball court, it pales in comparison to Kate’s athletic talent.

Kate (Fechtel) ran cross country and track and field for Denison University and was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.

Tom, the Lakeview football coach, is the first one to give credit to where it’s due.

“She’s the athlete in the family,” Tom said of Kate.