Lions, Tigers and fans alike were roaring Saturday night when the McClain boys snagged a narrow 3-point lead in the third quarter. The Tigers held the lead until the last minute of the game, when Fairfield’s Jesse Current and Cody Gragg scored a combination of 2-pointers and free throws that took the Lions to a 57-54 win.
Fairfield led by 10 at the end of the first quarter, putting up 18 points to McClain’s 8. The Tigers cut that lead in half in the second quarter, scoring 14 points to Fairfield’s 9 and taking the score to 27-22 for the half.
The third quarter saw McClain surge back when Jay Beatty put in a 2-point shot at 5:47, tying the score at 28-28. After some exchanges, Dalton Mischal tied it back up with a timely 2-pointer that took the score to 34-34 with a little more than three minutes on the clock. Fairfield’s Klay Walker took a 2-pointer a minute later in an attempt to hang onto the lead, but Mischal knocked out a long 3-point shot that took the Tigers into a slim lead at 37-36 with less than two minutes to go. Mischal widened the lead with two free throws and another long 3-pointer before the clock ran out, taking the lead from the Lions at 41-38 for the third quarter.
Fairfield wouldn’t allow McClain any more than a 9-point lead in the fourth quarter. After a double technical foul, Fairfield’s Klay Walker and McClain’s Mischal were allowed two conversion attempts. Walker converted both, but Mischal only made one, and the momentum shifted to Fairfield. By then, the Tigers were holding onto a narrow 2-point lead at 52-50, which turned to a 1-point lead when Fairfield’s Wyatt Evans made a free throw with two minutes on the clock for the game. After several 2-point exchanges, Gragg scored three free throws in the last 35 seconds, bringing Fairfield the win at 57-54 when the clock ran out.
“It was a very physical game,” said Fairfield head coach Everett Snyder. “It was a game of spurts… We’ve made some defensive changes and that seems to keep other teams from getting off to a good start. A lot of teams underestimate us from our size, we’re not overly big, 6’, 6”1’ is our biggest guys who play the majority of the time, but they’re all scrappers. If you don’t have any size, you have to be aggressive.”
“I thought we came out flat,” said McClain head coach Jesse Mitchell. “We got a little lead, we got tight, but we made some bad decisions.”
Gragg led scoring for Fairfield with 14 points for the game. Mischal led McClain with 20 points.
Fairfield — 18 9 11 19 — 57
McClain — 8 14 19 13 — 54
FHS: Gragg 3(1)-5/8-14; Walker 2(1)-2/2-9; Evans 3-6/8-12; Daulton 3(1)-2/3-11; Current 5-0/1-10; Ayres 1/1-1
MHS: O’Connor 2-4; Dean 1-1/2-3; Starkey 6-12; Barton 2-1/2-5; Mischal 4(3)-3/3-20; Gray 2-4; Beatty 3-6
Home win for Lynchburg-Clay
The Lynchburg-Clay boys had their eyes on the win from the beginning, scoring 23 points to visiting Western Brown’s 7 points in the first quarter and keeping the lead the entire game. By the half, the score was 38-19.
Western Brown outscored the Mustangs in the third and fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the first half.
The third-quarter score was 52-36 after WB scored 17 points to the Mustangs’ 14 points.
The fourth quarter saw Lynchburg-Clay secure the win, despite a 23-point gain from Western Brown against the Mustangs’ 10 points for the quarter.
When the clock ran out, the Mustangs had come out on top at 62-59.
Eric McLaughlin led scoring for LCHS with 17 points.
“We started out with a sense of urgency and held on at the end,” said Lynchburg-Clay head coach Matt Carson. “This was a step in the right direction for us. I was really proud of our bench play; they gave us good minutes tonight. It was a great team win. Our guards did a great job of finding the open shooters. When we can spread the ball around like this, we are tough to beat.”
Lynchburg-Clay — 23 15 14 10 — 62
Western Brown — 7 12 17 23 — 59
LCHS: Pierson 1(1)-1/2-6; McLaughlin 3(3)-2/2-17; Hilt 3(2)-12; Heindel 2-0/1-4; Giordano 3(2)-12; Snider 1/2-1; Lampkin (1)-2/2-5; Stroop 2-1/2-5
WBHS: Wolfe 2(3)-0/2-13; Eyre (1)-1/2-4; Ohara 2-4; Fischer 1(1)-1/2-6; Harvey 4-1/2-9; Nickell 4/4-4; Finn 2/4-2; Sams 2(2)-3/4-13; Smith 2-4
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @SportsWrighter.