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Strong 2nd half pushes Fairland past 'Burg

Jan. 28, 2013 @ 11:40 PM

PROCTORVILLE, Ohio -- Coach Jon Buchanan's message at halftime got across to his Fairland girls basketball team.

Improved defense and rebounding and a reduction in fouls helped the undefeated Lady Dragons go from a 28-28 tie at halftime against Wheelersburg to a 67-49 triumph Monday night at the Carl York Center.

"I had to reiterate at halftime what we had to do and the girls responded," Buchanan said. "We had to do a better job on the boards. They're athletic and we weren't ready for it. We rebounded their misses and they didn't get second chances. We had to cut down on fouls."

Caitlin Stone banked in a 3-point shot to start the second half for Fairland. Terra Stapleton followed with a score off a miss and Chandler Fulks hit from behind the arc to give the Lady Dragons a 36-30 lead and force a Wheelersburg timeout. After the break, Stapleton took a lob pass and scored from in close and Taylor Perry added two free throws and it was 40-30 and Fairland (16-0) was on its way to its 40th straight regular-season victory.

"Our pressure was good in the beginning, but they handled it," Buchanan said. "We kept getting better."

Stapleton, the 6-foot-4 center who's given a verbal commitment to the University of Minnesota, finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Fulks contributed 11, the highlight the two shots from behind the arc in the third period.

"Chandler had some daggers," Buchanan said. "Terra has such good hands and a good touch. She put on a performance."

Fay Proehl led Wheelersburg (15-3) with 18 points and Sydney Holden added 15. The Pirates came in with momentum as they beat Minford on Friday, 67-59, to clinch their first Southern Ohio Conference Division II title since 1998.

Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin said having to deal with Fulks outside and Stapleton inside is double trouble for any team.

"You've got to pick your poison," he said. "They're a capable team. We concentrated so much on Stapleton. You have to decide what you'll give up. She (Stapleton) demands a double team. They know when and where to get her the ball."

Proehl and Holden, a freshman, have been provided the scoring punch for the Lady Pirates all season.

"They've done a good job," Spradlin said. "We got tired chasing them around. We'll learn from it."

Fairland's next game is Thursday at home against Coal Grove. The Lady Dragons can clinch the Ohio Valley Conference title outright with a victory.

"The girls are looking forward to this one," Buchanan said.

WHEELERSBURG 14 14 13 8 -- 49: Smith 5, Proehl 18, Holden 15, Stegman 3, Salyers 4, Adams 4.

FAIRLAND 18 10 22 17 -- 67: Stapleton 24, Swiger 3, Dickess 4, Fulks 11, Chaffin 3, K. Riley 9, Stone 7, Perry 6.