Chesapeake's Caleb Heifner attempts to dribble out of a trap by Fairland's Cody Midkiff (4) and Evan Maddox (22) in a high school boys basketball game on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, in the Carl York Center at Fairland High School.
Sharon York Eskew, from left, Barbara York, Linda Gravely, and Beverly Sivert are recognized as Fairland unveils the sign for the newly named Carl York Center during halftime of the Dragons game against Chesapeake on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, in the Carl York Center at Fairland High School.
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio -- The Fairland boys basketball team made one coach and one coaching legend and many of his former players proud Friday night.
The first had to be Dragons coach Nathan Speed, who watched his team come from 17 points down in the second quarter to knock off rival Chesapeake, 63-60.
The second definitely had to be the former players who did Fairland proud under legendary coach Carl York. The gym was renamed the Carl York Center and many of York's former players made the trip to enjoy two big monments. The first came at halftime when York's wife Barbara and daughters Beverly, Sharon and Linda pulled the drape off the banner to make the gym's new name official. The second came at the end when the big win over its rival became official.
"He'd be a lot calmer than me," Speed said of York, who coached at Fairland from 1954 through 1978. "He'd definitely be proud of the effort. We didn't fold."
Fairland trailed 29-12 with 4:18 left in the second quarter following a layup by Caleb Lindsey to complete a fast break. That's when the Dragons started chipping away.
"The first quarter killed us," Fairland's Chance Short said. "We let them get that run. We could've folded, but we kept fighting."
Fairland (7-3) tied the game twice in the fourth period and took its first lead (57-56) when Chance Short made one of two free throws.
The game turned into free-throw shooting contest at the end and the Dragons, who struggled for three periods, connected on 15 of 19 to pull out the win. Short hit two free throws with 15.1 seconds left to put Fairland ahead, 62-57.
Lindsey drilled another three-pointer to make it 62-60 with 8.8 seconds to go. Luke Phillips then got fouled and made one of two for a 63-60 lead with 7.7 seconds remaining. The Panthers had one last shot, but didn't connect and the Fairland faithful inside the packed arena charged the floor to celebrate with the happy players.
"This means a lot" Short said. "We hadn't beaten them in a while. This was our burden. We talked it up. We took that burden off our backs."
"Two separate things," Speed said. "We honor a coach who was a great man, led great players who went on to become great men. This is a rivalry. They (Chesapeake) work hard and the community takes pride in that team. A win against a team like that is special. What we have to do now is calm down and get back to work."
Just taking the floor for Chesapeake (5-4) was difficult. On Monday, Doug Lindsey, father of Panthers guard Caleb Lindsey, passed away. He was 46. The funeral was held Friday. Fairland officials had a moment of silence prior to tipoff to honor Lindsey's father.
"There are a lot more more important things than basketball to worry about now," Panthers coach Ryan Davis said. "We played hard considering the circumstances."
For Fairland, the start against its rival was all too familiar. Fall way behind early, try to catch up, but come up short. This time was different.
"It's almost like people expect us to play that way at the start of the game," Speed said. "Five guys stand at half court and they shoot layups and attack the basket.
"In the past we'd come back but not quite get over the hump. Panic, get nervous, I don't know. Once we got there this time we were good enough to make it. Definitely got over the hump."
Short led Fairland with 20 points and Evan Maddox added 13.
Caleb Heffner paced the Panthers with 15 points. Lindsey finished with 14, Javon Thompson 13 and Nick Duffield 11.