GREENFIELD — The McClain Tigers registered their ninth win of the season on Saturday when they hosted the Fairfield Lions in a cross-county rivalry matchup and picked up the 73-55 win. The Lions played well in the first half, led 15-16 after the first quarter and only trailed by six at half before the Tigers outscored them 27-11 in the third and cruised to the win.
The Lions recorded the first points of the game when Ethan Saunders split a pair of free throws at the 7:35 mark of the first quarter. Fairfield went on to build a 7-2 lead as James Bentley, Sam Buddlemeyer and Wyatt Willey each had a basket in the opening minutes while the Tigers got a single basket from Ethan Cockerill.
Kobe Penwell then got the Tigers within two points when he hit a layup, was fouled and converted the and one opportunity. Buddlemeyer hit a shot to make it 9-5 before Penwell hit a pull up jumper and Cockerill added another basket of his own to tie it a nine with under three minutes to play in the quarter.
A short time later McClain’s Devin Carter gave the Tigers their first lead of the night and then hit one of two free throws to make it 12-9 with 1:54 to play in the first quarter.
Sam Buddlemeyer answered with a bucket of his own to make it 12-11 before Penwell hit a step back 15 foot jump shot to give the Tigers a 14-11 lead.
The Lions closed the quarter with a 5-1 run to take a 16-15 lead into the second quarter of play.
Saunders and Bentley each picked up two fouls in the first quarter of play and despite being limited in the second Bentley picked up his third before halftime along with Willey and Buddlemeyer who each had one in the first and two in the second.
Tucker Watson hit a jumper to start the second quarter for the Lions but it was for naught as the Tigers answered with a 5-0 run to take a 20-18 lead.
Buddlemeyer tied the game a short time later at 20 points apiece before McClain’s Garrison Banks and Carter scored seven straight to give the Tigers a 27-20 lead. The Lions responded with a six to two run of their own to get within three points at 29-26 before Carter was fouled on a layup and converted the and one at the free throw line to give the Tigers a 32-26 halftime lead.
The Tigers put together the winning stretch midway through the third quarter with the scoreboard reading 41-34 in favor of McClain.
Tigers’ freshman Bryson Badgley got it started with a three point basket and Carter recorded four consecutive points before Badgley hit back to back triples to extend the McClain lead to 18 points at 54-36 with 1:04 to play in the third.
Penwell and Banks finished off the 27-11 third quarter long run with a jumper and three point buzzer beater respectively to end the third quarter with McClain leading 59-37.
McClain’s Devin Carter helped the Tigers finish off the Lions with 10 of his game leading 28 points in the fourth quarter including two of three from the charity stripe. Buddlemeyer had seven points and Willey had five in the fourth for the Lions but it was not enough as the Tigers secured the 73-55 win.
McClain will be back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 8, when they travel to Western Brown to take on the Broncos in non-conference action.
The Lions will also be on the road Tuesday when they travel to North Adams High School to take on the Green Devils in Southern Hills Athletic Conference play. Fairfield will wrap up their week on Friday when they host SHAC and cross-county rivals the Whiteoak Wildcats.
Score by quarters
McClain: Penwell 4-4/5-12; Badgley 1(3)-11; Cockerill 2(1)-7; Banks 1(2)-1/2-9; Carter 12-4/8-28; Mischal 1-2; Newkirk 1-0/2-2; Mustard 1-0/1-2
Fairfield: Watson 2-4; Setty 1-1/2-3; Buddlemeyer 10-3/5-23; Willey 3-4/8-10; Saunders 3-1/4-7; Priest 1-2; Bentley 2-2/2-6
Ryan Applegate is the sports editor for The Times-Gazette. Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.