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ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Fairland girls basketball head coach Jon Buchanan said he had two goals for the Dragons ahead of its game on Tuesday against Portsmouth — get a lot of his players into the game and play hard.

Fairland checked both of those boxes with a 78-12 defeat of the Trojans at the Carl York Center in an Ohio Valley Conference contest.

“I told our kids, ‘Maybe Portsmouth is down a little bit and maybe we’re a more talented team, but the best way to play against a team like that is play as hard as you can all the time,’” Buchanan said. “We did a good job of communicating and moving the basketball. We shot the ball well early. It was good for our younger kids to get some varsity time.”

Emma Marshall led the scoring for Fairland with 13 points while Tomi Hinkle scored 12.

The Dragons (7-0 overall, 5-0 OVC) started the game with a 22-0 run before Emily Cheatham got Portsmouth (1-4, 0-4) on the scoreboard with a 2-point basket at 2:06 left in the first quarter.

Fairland closed out the period with a 7-0 run while Marshall added the first two points by either team in the second period. Meanwhile, the Trojans’ Dashiyah Wood hit a 3-pointer at 6:49 of the second period that would prove to be the final Portsmouth points of the first half.

Fairland led 46-5 at halftime. Cheatham led Portsmouth in the game with four points.

Fairland, which had struggled with turnovers this season, had just seven on Tuesday as the team continued to smooth its rough edges ahead of Thursday’s rematch against Coal Grove.

The Dragons defeated the Hornets 51-44 at the Carl York Center on Nov. 30, the only loss this season for Coal Grove (11-1).

Thursday’s game will be at Dawson-Bryant High School with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.

“We expect a great contest, a great atmosphere and a lot of energy,” Buchanan said. “It will be a good test for our young team. Those are the kinds of games you want to play in, and they’re the kind of games you want to coach.”

While Fairland did better at controlling the ball this game, it forced Portsmouth into 25 turnovers and points on the other end.

“Defensively, we’ve made huge strides in the last week,” Buchanan said.

Kirsten Orsbon, who scored six points against the Trojans, said Fairland’s strength has been its passing because it opens each of the five players on the court for scoring opportunities.

“We’re not one person or two people like most teams,” Orsbon said. “We’re five players at all times. I think we’ve got a good chance of beating the rest of the teams.”

PORTSMOUTH 2 3 5 2 — 12: Cheatham 4, Powell 2, Carr 1, Wood 3, Reid 2.

FAIRLAND 29 17 19 13 — 78: Marshall 13, Penix 2, Barnitz 8, Schmidt 2, Bruce 5, Ngumire 6, Taylor 9, Allen 3, Hinkle 12, Judge 6, Howard 4, Taylor 2, Orsbon 6.

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