Fairfield’s Lions boys basketball saw their season come to a screeching halt on Wednesday in the Division IV Sectional Final game held at Northwest High School. The Glenwood-New Boston Tigers roared back from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat the Lions 80-66.
Senior Cody Gragg led Fairfield with 19 points on seven field goals and a four of six performance at the line. Sam Buddlemeyer, Bryson Simmons and Tucker Ayres also contributed double figures for the Lions as they scored 11, 11 and 10 points respectively.
Tyler Caldwell led the Tigers with 22 points on the night and Kyler Sexton exploded with 17 points in the second half and finished with 19 points total. Kade Conley and Kyle McQuithy finished with 18 and 11 points respectively to help lead New Boston to victory.
The first quarter was a hard fought battle between the two teams that saw the New Boston boys take a narrow lead only to see the Lions claw back. Buddlemeyer hit his first two shots of the night and scored the first three baskets of the game to keep Fairfield in it. With four seconds to play in the quarter Buddlemeyer hit two free throws to knot the score at 15 at the end of one.
Glenwood jumped out to a four point lead early in the second quarter as Fairfield struggled to put the ball in the hole. At the 4:47 mark of the second Caldwell of New Boston nailed a three pointer that started a string of four triples between the two teams in under a minute and left the game tied at 25 points apiece.
From there the Lions outscored the Tigers 14-7 as Gragg and Ayres combined to score 11 points during the outburst. The final play of the half saw Willey get fouled, inexplicably, as he hoisted a shot toward the rim as the buzzer sounded. Willey would go on to hit all three of his chances at the charity stripe, seemingly swinging the momentum the way of the Lions who took a 39-32 lead into the locker room.
The third period of play was off to a promising start for Fairfield as they quickly pushed their lead to double figures. James Bentley hit one of two at the line and Wyatt Willey hit a three-pointer under a minute into the second half of play. From there the Tigers of Glenwood outscored the Lions 21-5 and took a 53-48 lead into the fourth.
New Boston continued their onslaught in the final frame as Sexton and Caldwell combined to score 20 points in the quarter as the Tigers gradually pulled away. Fairfield managed to score 18 points in the fourth but were unable to catch the Tigers as they iced the game at the line.
After the game Fairfield head coach Josh Howland talked about the difference between the first half and the second half of play.
“We came out and executed our game plan in the first half, when they went to man defense in the second half that was the difference. I think we prepared to hard for the zone defense and not enough for the man. Either way, we have played against man defense for 22 games,” said Howland.
Coach Howland talked about the seniors on his team following the loss.
“Tucker Ayres, Cody Gragg and Quinton Beatty are our three seniors. Their level of commitment is the best I have seen,”Howland said.
The Fairfield coach finished by looking ahead to next season and the players that he will have coming back.
“We have four under classmen in Sam Buddlemeyer, Bryson Simmons, Wyatt Willey and James Bentley coming back that were in the top six and a lot of times the top five this year. We have high expectations for them, they are committed and they are in the gym every day in the summer. So we know they will work hard,” said Howland.
Glenwood: Conley 5(2)-2/5-18; Truitt 2-0/2-4; Meade 3-6; Caldwell 5(2)-6/7-22; McQuithy 2(2)-1/2-11
Fairfield: Gragg 6(1)-4/6-19; Setty (1)-3; Buddlemeyer 4-3/4-11; Willey 1(1)-1/2-6; Simmons 1(2)-3/3-11; Ayres 4-2/6-10; Bentley 1-4/6-6
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.