Fink trying to lead young Hawks in right direction


Senior guard Maddi Sadowski is one of the top scorers on this year's Viera High girls basketball team. Photo by Carl Kotala

The Viera High girls basketball team has a new coach, new players … and a chance to get a lot better as the season goes along.

Brett Fink, a former assistant coach for the UCF women’s basketball team, came to Viera a year ago as a history teacher. He took over the program after Jamie Risberg retired from coaching after a highly-successful 30-year career.

“It’s a great school,” Fink said. “We have the best principal in Brevard County (Mike Alba). I’ve got a great staff with me. My kids are great. There’s a whole lot to like about Viera High School.”

As for his philosophy, Fink leans toward former University of North Carolina men’s basketball coaching legend Dean Smith.

“I think the biggest thing we’re trying to do is create a culture of responsibility, where they’re responsible for their play and they’re responsible for understanding what they should do,” Fink said.

“We have core values and the three core values that I’ve demanded of all my teams, and that’s that they play their hardest, they do things right and they stick together.”

Viera’s roster features a lot of players who do not have previous varsity experience. In fact, Maddi Sadowski and Monica Parrish are the only players who got any varsity experience last season.

But that’s not to say the Hawks don’t have talent.

In addition to Sadowski, Parrish and a capable young roster, transfer Miracle Simon has given the Viera offense a big boost. A second-team all-state player from Lake Charles, La., has been averaging close to 20 points for the Hawks.

“We’re getting better,” Fink said. “Miracle Simon is as good a player as there is in the county, if not the best player in the county. Maddi Sadowski is a solid guard for us, does a lot of things well. We’ve got a couple of talented freshmen [Corrin Flajole and Tyrese Gonzalez] and a really talented sophomore [Caitlin Hoffhine] who’s steady and plays well.

“And Katie Smith, she’s probably the hardest-working player in Brevard County. … She’s an excellent leader, and a good example [for the other players].

“They’re learning. They’re getting better every game.”

The Hawks were off to a 5-3 start and adjusting to Fink’s style of play and coaching, plus getting to know each other.

“It’s becoming a little easier because now we’re all friends,” Smith said. “We’re bonding more. So the flow becomes easier.”

For the Hawks to become even better, Smith said the team needs to overcome its penchant for getting too excited and play more calmly.

“I think we have a chance to win a lot of games, but we really have to think about it, and really come out working hard,” Smith said.