Fairland falls to Vinton Co.
ATHENS, Ohio -- No matter whether it was off the rim or off of their own hands, the Fairland Dragons couldn't get a bounce to go their way Friday night in the Convocation Center.
Vinton County defeated Fairland, 65-61, in the Division II boys basketball district semifinals when the Dragons had a pair of shots rim out and added a pair of turnovers in the final two minutes.
Despite the loss, Fairland coach Nathan Speed said he couldn't have asked for any more from his players.
"That's what's so shocking and disappointing," Speed said. "They did everything we asked them to do. We made foul shots, limited turnovers and I felt like we were being aggressive defensively. You look for reasons and you can't find them."
A pair of free throws by Nathan Campbell gave Fairland its last lead at 58-57 with just over two minutes left, but freshman Jordan Albright grabbed a rebound off a deflected shot and got a 3-point play to put the Vikings on top for good two possessions later.
The Dragons followed with consecutive turnovers that proved to be the team's downfall.
Despite missing considerable time in the first half because of foul trouble, Evan Maddox finished with 22 points to lead the Dragons. Senior Kyle Raines added 10 points in his final game while Luke Phillips added 10.
Albright and Jordan Kidd led Vinton County with 13 points each while Alex Owings netted 11 for the Vikings, who advance to face Warren at 8:15 p.m., Thursday.
A pivotal turn of events came late in the first half when it appeared the Dragons were seizing control of the contest.
Fairland jumped out to a nine-point lead following a shot by Phillips, but Vinton County scored the last seven points of the half to cut the deficit to just two at the break.
Play got very physical in the second quarter with both teams being aggressive on the defensive end of the floor.
A big swing came late when Phillips was called for an intentional foul on Kidd following a steal.
The call was not a favorite of the Fairland faithful in attendance. Kidd knocked down both free throws then the Vikings got a layup in the final second by Albright to take momentum into halftime.
"When they made that run, we still felt pretty good, though," Speed said. "We weren't too worried at the time, but it didn't end how it felt it should."
Phillips had ignited the spark in the second quarter, getting a steal and a transition layup through two defenders before later driving and finding Raines for a 3-pointer in the corner to cap an 11-3 run by the Dragons.
Fairland was able to take a lead into intermission despite having Maddox play just 2:16 of the first half.
The junior Maddox picked up two quick fouls in the first three possessions of the game then was called for a charge in his second possession back, forcing him to the bench for the final seven minutes of the half.
Fairland finished a perfect 13-for-13 from the foul line, but ends its season at 17-7.
VINTON COUNTY 15 13 18 19 -- 65: Kidd 13, Albright 13, A. Owings 11, B. Owings 8, Remy 9, Smallwood 5, Walton 4, Caudill 2.
FAIRLAND 17 13 17 14 -- 61: Maddox 22, Raines 10, Phillips 10, Short 5, Midkiff 2, Braye 4, N. Campbell 4, Flynn 4.