Disappointment has been the spark that feeds Brittany Gordon's fire.
The 5-foot-8 South Charleston senior guard has made it to the previous two Class AAA state championship games only to have both end in heartache.
Gordon, the daughter of former Wheeling Park and University of Charleston standout guard Tony Gordon, suffered a knee injury in the 2010 state semifinals and had to watch from the bench on crutches as her teammates put up a valiant effort before losing to North Marion 58-45.
Last season on a rehabilitated knee, Gordon and the Black Eagles fell behind by 21 points in the third quarter of the title game before rallying and pulling within one point then falling short again to North Marion 71-62.
"To watch your team lose the state championship and you know you can't help them when they're giving everything they've got ... it really hurt me,'' said Gordon.
"Then coming back to the next one and realizing you didn't play up to your full potential the whole game ... the thing that hurts the most is that we have the potential and we've never lived up to it in a game. I'm glad we've been stepping up this season and playing to our potential.''
Gordon is having her best season yet, leading the ultra-competitive Mountain State Athletic Conference in scoring for a second straight season at 23.2 points per game.
She has guided SC (17-3) to a No. 4 ranking in the Associated Press poll and a third straight MSAC West Division title. The Black Eagles are seeking their third straight title when they take on No. 1 and undefeated Greenbrier East in the Night of Champions title game this weekend.
"There's nothing else on our minds,'' said Gordon of a state title. "We've accomplished everything else we wanted. If we fall short in some type of way I want us to fall short saying we gave everything we had.
"If we give everything we had and something just doesn't fall right in the game, I'll be satisfied. It's the times you look in the mirror and say, 'What could I have done better? What could I have done better?'''
Gordon, who has compiled 1,714 career points in one season at Nitro and three seasons at SC, has put herself in the middle of the discussion for the state player of the year honor.