LEES CREEK – The Fairfield Lions traveled to East Clinton High School on Friday to take on the East Clinton Astros in a boys varsity basketball matchup. Fairfield emerged with the convincing 67-37 non-conference road win over the Astros.
The Lions got off to a fast start as Wyatt Willey and James Bentley combined to score six straight points to open the first quarter before the Astros Branson Smith and Matt Mitchell combined for five straight to climb within one point at 6-5 halfway through the quarter.
Fairfield responded with 12 straight points and took a commanding 18-8 lead before the Astros were able to find the bottom of the basket again. The Lions finished the first quarter with a 25-14 lead.
In the second quarter the Lions scored 10 of the first 14 points in the period as Sam Buddlemeyer collected two offensive rebounds during the stretch and tallied six points to propel Fairfield to a 35-20 lead with just over four minutes to play in the first half.
Following a timeout by the Astros Jared Smith stole the ball and finished at the other end to bring the home crowd to life but, Willey converted on an and one opportunity a short time later to silence the home fans and confirmed that it was the visiting Lions’ night.
Neanover and Mitchell added a bucket apiece for East Clinton before the end of the half but it was for naught as Willey added a basket and two free throws of his own and Ethan Saunders had two points before the halftime buzzer to bring the score to 44-27 in favor of Fairfield.
The Astros came out of the locker room after halftime with a sense of urgency but, they were unable to overcome the smothering Fairfield defense and tallied eight points in the third period while allowing Fairfield to put up 15 and extend the lead to 59-35 after three quarters.
In the fourth and final period of play the teams combined to score 10 points total and neither team found the bottom of the net over the final 3:55 as Fairfield cruised to victory.
Despite the lack of competitiveness in the game Fairfield Head Coach Josh Howland was happy that his team was able to get a game under their belts during the holiday break.
“It helps break up the Christmas break and they have been wanting to play,” said Howland. “It was good for them to get out, go over a game plan and execute a scouting plan. So it does help to a degree.”
The Astros were led in scoring by Mitchell and Branson Smith who each tallied 12 points on the night. Neanover had six points, Jared Smith had three and Logan Swayne and Colton Vadrais each finished with two for East Clinton.
The Lions had four players who finished with at least 12 points led by Willey with a team high 18. Buddlemeyer finished with 14, Bentley had 13 and Bryson Simmons collected 12 for Fsairfield. Ethan Saunders and Austin Setty finished with eight and two points respectively to help the Lions earn the win.
The Lions will be back in action on January 5, 2019 when they travel to McClain High School to take on the McClain Tigers in a cross county rivalry matchup.
East Clinton will also be on the road when next they take the floor as they travel to Georgetown on January 4, 2019 to take on the G-Men.
Score by quarters
Fairfield: Setty 1-2; Buddlemeyer 6-2/3-14; Willey 6(1)-3/3-18; Saunders 4-8; Simmons 6-12; Bentley 5-3/3-13
East Clinton: B. Smith 4(1)-1/1-12; J. Smith 1-1/2-3; Neanover 3-6; Mitchell 2(2)-2/2-12; Swayne 1-2; Vadrais 1-2
Ryan Applegate is the sports editor for The Times-Gazette. Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.