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ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A high pressure system rolled through the Carl York Center Friday night and Fairland was the beneficiary.

The Dragons (19-2) used a strong press to force Chesapeake turnovers on six of the Panthers’ first seven possessions on their way to a 54-40 victory in a Division III sectional championship game.

No. 4 seed Fairland will entertain fifth-seeded Coal Grove (20-2), a 76-55 winner over Federal Hocking on Thursday, at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the district semifinals.

The Dragons’ press helped them jump to an 11-1 lead. The Panthers (15-7) pulled no closer than within seven the rest of the way and trailed by as many as 22 points after Tomi Hinkle’s basket with 3:22 to play.

“That mattered a lot,” Fairland coach Jon Buchanan said of the press.

Fairland also outrebounded Chesapeake 34-20, with Hinkle pulling down a game-high 11 to go with her game-best 16 points and five steals. Emma Marshall scored 13 points and Bree Allen 12 for the Dragons.

The Panthers played their arch rival fairly even throughout the rest of the game, using a 10-0 run late to close within 52-40 with 1:20 left, but couldn’t catch up.

“Chris (Ball) does a great job,” Buchanan said of Chesapeake’s coach. “They played us man to man last time and came out with a box and one this time. We were ready for it, but it’s still an adjustment.”

Maddie Ward scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds in her final game with the Panthers. Emily Duncan scored 10 points.

Fairland led 29-18 at halftime and used an 8-2 run to begin the third quarter to make any comeback hopes by Chesapeake fleeting.

The sectional championship was Fairland’s eighth in nine seasons.

“We’re excited to be back in the district tournament,” Buchanan said. “We made it eight straight years, then lost in the sectional finals last year. We’re glad to be there.”

Fairland shared the Ohio Valley Conference title with Coal Grove, defeating the Hornets 51-44 on Nov. 30 at home, then falling 53-52 on Jan. 7 at Coal Grove.

“It should be a good game,” Buchanan said of the showdown. “It will be a high-atmosphere game. They’re a great team.”

CHESAPEAKE 10 8 10 12 — 40: Pauley 1-1 0-0 0-0 2, Isaacs 1-4 1-2 0-0 3, Anderson 2-7 0-0 2-3 6, McComas 3-7 0-2 1-2 7, Shields 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Ward 4-14 2-4 2-2 12, Duncan 5-8 0-0 0-0 10, Conley 0-0 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-42 3-8 5-7 40.

FAIRLAND 17 12 13 12 — 54: Marshall 5-12 3-7 0-2 13, Barnitz 2-6 2-6 0-0 6, Brumfield 0-3 0-03 0-0 0, Bruce 2-4 1-1 0-2 5, Allen 4-10 1-2 3-4 12, Hinkle 7-19 1-6 1-1 16, Judge 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Howard 1-2 0-0 0-0 2, Orsbon 0-0 0-0 0-2 0. Totals: 21-56 8-25 4-11 54.

Rebounds: C 20 (Ward 7), F 34 (Hinkle 11). Steals: C 10 (Ward 4), F 13 (Hinkle 5). Blocked shots: C 1 (Anderson), F 4 (Allen 2). Turnovers: C 21, F 20. Fouls: C 11, F 13. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.

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