There wasn’t a single moment on Tuesday night where the crowd could tell which team was going to win as the Fairfield Lions played host to the McClain Tigers, that was, until the buzzer went off. The two teams competed for every second of the game all the way until the end, and when the buzzer went off, it was Fairfield ahead on the scoreboard by one point with a final of 54-53.
The first quarter got off to a slow but tight start as Fairfield and McClain played neck-and-neck. The Lions edged out their competition 10-9 after the first eight minutes.
The second quarter was much of the same, Fairfield once again outscoring McClain by one point, and the Lions took a 26-24 lead into the half.
The third quarter was a quarter of runs.
Greenfield started the quarter out with a two point basket from Randall Mischal which was quickly followed by an Ethan Putnam jump shot with 7:17 left to play in the third frame. On the Tigers’ next possession, they scored again, this time with a post move from Jacob Starkey which led to two points on the board. With 6:30 to go, the first run of the quarter started as Fairfield went on a 12-2 run over the next three minutes to pull ahead of McClain. The Tigers, not to be outdone, went on their own run to end the half, scoring 11 unanswered points before Jesse Current halted it with just 30 seconds to go with two points. After the two runs in the quarter, Fairfield was able to maintain their one point lead and it was 42-41 going into the final frame.
Even though both teams tallied just 12 points in the final quarter, with the deafening crowd and physical play, it seemed like much more.
The game came down to the final seconds and with just 26 of them on the clock. Greenfield’s Alex Hollar drove to the basket and twisted his body midair to get the ball around the defenders to put two points on the board and put his team up by one, 53-52.
After coming out of a Fairfield timeout, the Lions got the ball down the floor and ran through an offense, looking for an opening with the second drained away. Finally, with the ball in Jenson Daulton’s hands, he found a way to get through the taller defenders and put up a layup in much the same way Hollar did for the Tigers, to put his team back on top by one point with just 7.5 seconds remaining.
After a final timeout by McClain, the Tigers got the ball 90 feet away from their basket and a Fairfield press in front of them. They were able to get the ball to their side of the floor and with just two second left, passed the ball to Matt Barton, who had hit three three-pointers in the game. Barton put up a shot with room but the ball hit the rim as time expired and the Lions held on to win 54-53.
“We talked this week in practice about starting the year off with a win here tonight,” said Fairfield coach Everett Snyder after the game. “We’ve played a lot of close games already this season and I think the kids are playing together now, and I think if we can come out and win a few games here to start the year, we could end up having a pretty decent season.
“We’ve been working on mixing up our defenses. We go 2-3, 3-2, and a man and worked a little on matchup zone but we didn’t put it in tonight, but I think that kept Greenfield kind of unsure on the offensive end on what they were going to run.
Coach Snyder also had some good things to say about Jenson Daulton who made the last second layup to put his team up and win the game.
“We have Jenson listed at 5’10” but he’s maybe 5’8” and 100 pounds but he took it in there and missed all of Greenfield’s big men. You have to hand it to him; that’s a pretty gutsy play.”
The Fairfield Lions will be back in action on Friday night when they travel to West Union for a Southern Hills Athletic Conference contest.
FHS – 10 16 16 12 – 54
MHS – 9 15 17 12 – 53
Fairfield: Putnam 4(3) – 17; Daulton 3(2) 1/2 – 13; Walker (3) – 9; Harris 3 2/2 – 8; Evans 1 2/6 – 4; J. Current 1 – 2; Lamme 1/2 – 1. Totals: 12(8) 6/12 – 54.
Greenfield: Starkey 7 – 14; Barton 2(3) 13; Mischall 3 3/7 – 9; Hollar 3 1/2 – 7; Hardesty 1 2/2 – 4; Dean 2 – 4; O’Connor 1 – 2. Totals: 19(3) 6/11 – 53.
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.
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