That all changed on March 7 when Morris Catholic registered a 62-45 victory over Newark Academy to capture the North Jersey Non-Public B crown at Paterson Kennedy High School.
What made it sweeter was that it also was the first title for all of the current players.
"It's very, very nice," Fachet said. "It's one of the things I hadn't accomplished. Of course, it's great for the girls. They've never experienced this either."
Morris Catholic, which had three players in double figures, claimed top sectional honors for the 10th time. Its first NJSIAA sectional championship was won in 1986. That squad went on to take the overall title.
"This is huge," said senior guard Danni Brown, who had 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. "I'm happy we pulled it out."
Eliminated from the MCT in the semifinals, Morris Catholic (23-3) shared the NJAC-Independence Division with Chatham and took the section. The Crusaders will face Gill-St. Bernard's in the state final on Saturday, March 10 at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.
"When we got knocked out of counties, we took it to heart," Brown said. "We strived to get here. As point guard, I wanted to do my best to guide the team. Of course, I couldn't have done it without them."
Brown felt patience played a large role in the win. The Crusaders didn't rush. They chose good shots and avoided an excess of turnovers once they settled down.
Also important were the 20 points that came off the hands of sophomore guard Alexa Giuliano. Senior Jessica Porada had a double-double, scoring 14 points and taking down 11 rebounds.
It wasn't just about points, though. Morris Catholic's defensive specialist, Devin D'Amico, held Newark Academy's best offensive threat, Carly Gruenberg, to 15 points.
"Alexa had a great shooting day," Fachet said. "Danni ran the offense well and the rest of the girls did their thing. Devin played good defense."
Giuliano, the lone underclassman in the starting lineup, was motivated to do well for the seniors.
"I've been working on my shooting a lot so I'd be prepared for this big game," Giuliano said. "I wanted a title for the seniors. They've meant a lot to this team."
In the first quarter, Giuliano came out firing, netting three of her four 3-pointers to help top-seeded Morris Catholic to a 16-15 lead. Both teams committed turnovers while getting their nerves out.
With second-seeded Newark Academy leading 15-12 after a steal and a layup with 1:35 left in the first period, the Crusaders, rebounding well, commenced a 13-point run. Giuliano opened the skein with a 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining in the first quarter and had four more points in the burst which ended 1:46 into the second period. A three-point play by Porada also was key in the run.
Liz Bona Beach's team, appearing in its first sectional final, was unable to come back after that.
"We fell apart a little there and never recovered," said Bona Beach, a 1985 graduate of Morris Hills High School. "We kept fighting but were too far behind."
Morris Catholic kept it up and stretched its advantage to 12 points by halftime, 37-25. Sophomore Anna Toke came off the bench to score five points and aid in rebounding. The Minutemen (21-5) cut their deficit to seven points before Toke sank a pair of free throws. She also had a three-point play.
After halftime, the Crusaders continued to control the boards and get baskets off the fast break. Sade Idera, a junior forward, had six rebounds for Morris Catholic while Toke had five.
Newark Academy's attack was paced by junior Ahlia Bethea, who stepped up with Gruenberg receiving extra attention and finished with 17 points. Mendham's Ashlyn Heller, a point guard, displayed a fine passing touch, setting up many of the Minutemen's field goals.
"This is the farthest we've ever gotten," Bona Beach said. "We were the underdogs so we had nothing to lose. It was a great experience. Hopefully, we'll be back next year."
Fachet was thrilled to take the section. His Parsippany Hills boys squads played in sectional finals twice, falling to Clifford Scott in 1991 and Parsippany in 1997. He won three MCT titles with the Parsippany Hills boys and one with the Morris Catholic girls in 2011.
The Crusaders last played for a state championship in 2008. They lost to St. John Vianney, 59-57, in the Non-Public A final.
Morris Catholic is the fourth Morris County team to gain a sectional title this week, joining Pequannock, Whippany Park and Chatham.
"This feels so awesome," Giuliano said. "I'm so proud of everyone. We worked as a team and came out strong."