CLIMAX, Minn. - It was simple. Dee Garrett wanted to take the Climax-Fisher girls basketball team out for pizza.

The soon-to-be 75-year-old didn’t care she was all the way in Yucaipa, Calif. She didn’t care she had never met one player or knew anyone from Minnesota for that matter.

She just cared about the Climax-Fisher girls basketball team.

“It was knowing that I wouldn’t have had the guts to do what they did at their age,” Garrett said as to why she felt she needed to reach out to the Knights. “I’m at a point in my life where I can say thank you for being inspirational.”

The basketball season for the Knights ended on March 2, but the story of the 2014-15 Climax-Fisher girls basketball team lives on.

It’s the story of an 84-game losing streak coming to an end in the most unlikely fashion. On Dec. 9, Climax-Fisher defeated Bagley 62-58 in double overtime playing 4-on-5 in the first overtime and 3-on-5 for the final 3 minutes, 6 seconds of the second overtime. The Knights didn’t make a field goal in either overtime, but hit 12 free throws.

The tale of the Knights went nationwide. The story was picked up by Deadspin, USA Today and ESPNW. The story was told on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Fox News and on CBS.

Climax and Fisher high schools combined have an enrollment of 109. The populations for both towns are barely 700 combined.

Around the country, however, they are huge.

“I think there’s not enough goodness being promoted in the world, so people acknowledged it and it’s touched them in some way,” Climax-Fisher coach Jonathon Vonesh. “I think that’s where it’s really striking people.”

That’s why Garrett sent a check that Vonesh will use to take the girls out for dinner on April 19. They will send Garrett pictures.

“I related so much to these girls and I was so impressed,” Garrett said. “They weren’t going to let the people that were saying bad things, those that didn’t even try to play the game, take away their resolve to succeed. For as young as they are, to recognize that, impressed the heck out of me.”

That’s why Jill Kelly showed the story to her third-grade class at Independence Elementary in St. Charles, Mo. Every student from her class wrote a letter to the Knights.

“They must have been working on similes in English class because each one had something like ‘You’re as strong as a lion’ in them,” Vonesh said. “It was really cute.”

Danny Landers from Sikeston, Mo., sent a letter, as did David Erfort from River Forest, Ill., a Jennifer from Orlando, Fla., and Michael Wade from Summit, N.J. Letters came in from Minnesota and Arizona as well.

Brett Storsved, a 1987 graduate from Norman County West, sent a letter from Nevada, and 1962 Climax graduate Myles Eidsmoe sent a letter from Forest Grove, Ore.

“It is easy to practice and play when you win and difficult and hard work to practice and play when you continue to lose,” Eidsmoe wrote in the letter. “All of you ladies will have a great future because your will and determination.”

David Quirk, an 82-year-old living in Black Eagle, Mont., called Vonesh and spoke to him for nearly two hours. Quirk had played basketball for McKean High School in Pennsylvania in 1951. That season McKean defeated Fairview 33-32 playing 4-on-5 with three minutes remaining in the game and 3-on-5 for the last 90 seconds of the game. On top of that, McKean’s coach had a death in the family and had to leave right before the game started, leaving the principal to take over.

McKean would not win another game that season and that loss would be Fairview’s only loss that season.

“I could see where those girls were coming from,” Quirk said in a phone interview. “I just wanted to congratulate (Vonesh) on his situation.”

Quirk sent Vonesh the New York Times article about McKean’s win.

The letters haven’t stopped. On March 30, Jennifer Bartolotta from Milwaukee, Wis., sent cards to each player and a copy of the book “If I’d Known Then,” which is a series of letters that professional women in their 20s and 30s wrote to their younger selves.

“Everybody hears the word Climax and they say, ‘Are you serious? You’re from where?’ ” Vonesh said with a laugh. “To be hit nationwide and to touch as many lives as they have is remarkable. It’s amazing.”

All Climax-Fisher wanted before the 2014-15 season started was a win.

“I just wanted one,” Climax-Fisher senior guard Emily Love said. “That’s all I wanted. I wanted to be able to graduate and say I at least won one game. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine all this.”

The Knights did much more than win one game. They won four more games and made new fans around the country.

“I just wanted one,” Vonesh said. “For next year, I’m pushing for 10. If you don’t dream big your dreams are always going to be small.”

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