Fairland topples Coal Grove, 77-66
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio -- It was Senior Night at Fairland as the Dragons took on Coal Grove in boys' basketball Tuesday, but it was a junior who sparked his team past the Hornets.
Evan Maddox had 35 points for Fairland, and by the numbers it would seem the Dragons dominated the contest.
But, Fairland's 77-66 victory wasn't quite that easy.
Maddox had only seven points in the first half, all in the second quarter.
Coal Grove stymied Fairland's transition game early, and Dragons coach Nathan Speed had to go away from his team's tendencies to loosen things up.
He brought Dionte Bray off the bench to work inside, and Bray responded with six points, four of which came back-to-back at the start of the second quarter as part of a 9-0 run that began to separate the Dragons from the Hornets.
"We weren't pushing the tempo the way we want to," Speed said. "We felt like we had a mismatch with (Bray) and he came in and did his job, and sort of loosened things up and allowed us to spread out more."
It also allowed Maddox to go crazy in the second half, getting many of his points on transition layups or at the foul line.
"We just kept pushing tempo, pushing tempo, pushing tempo, and I have to give our guys credit because they're conditioned enough to do that," Speed said.
Still, the Hornets weren't going away.
Fairland built a staggering lead more than once, and Coal Grove chipped away each time to get the game back within reach.
Alex Bare, Sean Paulus and Connor Markins of the Hornets combined for 15 points from the 3-point line in the fourth quarter, cutting a 20-point lead to 66-61with less than two minutes to go.
But Maddox kept finding a way to the foul line, and the Hornets weren't able to hit enough shots down the stretch.
"They're a good team, they've got some talent and they're well-coached," Speed said of Coal Grove. "We got up by 20 at one point, and it didn't worry them at all. They kept playing hard, they kept trying to get to the basket and attack, and you have to give them a lot of credit for that."
Starters Cody Midkiff and Kyle Raines were the Fairland seniors honored Tuesday night.
Raines finished with three points and Midkiff had seven. They combined for six made free throws in the fourth quarter when Coal Grove was surging.
"I've coached those two seniors since they were in seventh-grade," Speed said. "They bring their effort and hard work everyday, and we wouldn't be where we are without them.
"Even if they're having an off-night shooting, they keep working and you know you can rely on them."
COAL GROVE 9 9 18 30 -- 66: Bare 16, Paulus 13, Adkins 14, Markins 17, Gunther 6.
FAIRLAND 7 17 23 30 -- 77: Maddox 35, Short 15, Phillips 7, Bray 6, Midkiff 7, Campbell 4, Raines 3.