The Fairfield Lions started their first quarter strong Tuesday at the Ohio University Convocation Center, at one point leading the Waterford Wildcats by 5 points in their district semifinal – until the ‘Cats made an offensive surge and took the lead late in the first period, keeping the Leesburg boys behind for the rest of the game.
Fairfield was able to whittle Waterford’s lead down several times throughout, but it wasn’t enough to steal the lead again. By the buzzer, Fairfield was down by 11, ending their tournament run.
The Lions shot 17 of 27 from the freethrow line for 63 percent. Wyatt Evans led scoring with 12 points.
The first quarter saw Fairfield jump out to a 5-point lead in the first three minutes of the game after Klay Walker hurled a three at 5:37. Waterford remained close on Fairfield’s heels over the next few minutes, then tied the score at 12-12 with a minute and a half left on the clock. Tucker Ayres snatched a 2-point lead for Leesburg after the one-minute mark, but Waterford’s Andrew Theiman took a 2-point shot that tied the score again at 14-14 with 41 seconds on the clock. It was Dylan Shriver who took the lead for Waterford with a 2-pointer in the last 15 seconds of the quarter, ushering the Wildcats into a lead they kept for the rest of the game.
Evans, Ayres and Jesse Current scored the Lions’ total of 9 points in the second quarter while Waterford made 19, outscoring Fairfield by 10 points and improving their lead to 12 by the half.
At half time, the score was 35-23 with the Wildcats on top.
Fairfield worked hard in the third quarter, but couldn’t cut Waterford’s lead to any less than 5 points. Jensen Daulton, Mason Cain, Current and Ayres scored for the Lions for a total of 15 points against Waterford’s 10. By the end of the third period, the score was 45-38 with the Wildcats holding a 7-point lead.
Waterford secured the win in the fourth quarter, making an 18-point gain while keeping Fairfield at 14 points for the period. Cody Gragg, Klay Walker, Evans, Daulton, Cain, Current and Ayres all scored for the Lions, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead again. The game ended with 63-52 on the board, spelling an 11-point win for the Wildcats and the end of the Fairfield Lions’ tournament run.
“Size-wise, I think maybe in every position they were a little bigger than us,” said Fairfield head coach Everett Snyder. “The kids played hard and took it to ‘em… We did a good job of rotating, that was effective tonight, we just kind of let that second quarter get away from us. We finally got our pressure going halfway through the third quarter, but we were a little hesitant there at the beginning of the second half… They’re a great bunch of kids… They fought hard for what they got, and I’m proud of their acheivements.”
Waterford — 16 19 10 18 — 63
Fairfield — 14 9 15 14 — 52
WHS: McCutcheon 3(2)-12; Welch 4(2)-4/4-18; I. Huffman 5(1)-3/3-16; Hilverding (1)-1/2-4
FHS: Gragg 1-2/5-4; Walker (2)-6; Evans 4-4/7-12; Daulton 2-3/3-7; Cain 3/4-3; Current 2(1)-4/6-11; Ayres 4-1/2-9
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.