LEESBURG — The Fairfield Lions hosted the Whiteoak Wildcats on Friday at Fairfield High School in a rematch of their hotly contested December 14, 2018 game at Whaiteoak High School. Grandle Gymnasium was filled to capacity as the cross county and Southern Hills Athletic Conference rivals went toe to toe. The Lions emerged from the battle with a convincing 78-65 win to avenge its loss in the earlier matchup.
Fairfield’s Sam Buddlemeyer was the catalyst for the Lions and got started early as he recorded eight of his game high 32 points in the first quarter including six of Fairfield’s nine points in its opening 9-2 run.
Whiteoak came to play against the Lions and refused to go down easily. With the scoreboard reading 13-6 in favor of Fairfield the Wildcats finished the first quarter with a 13-5 run with Zach Rand leading the charge and recording six of his teams 13 points with back to back three pointers. Wildcats’ point guard Nick Bailey hit the go ahead basket with 45.9 seconds to play in the quarter.
The second quarter was a back and forth affair that saw both teams score 12 points and featured five lead changes and one tie.
Buddlemeyer continued to press the action against the Wildcats and added six points in the second quarter but, was held in check over the last five minutes of the quarter. James Bentley stepped up in Buddlemeyer’s place and recorded four points in the period to keep Fairfield in the game.
Ryan Roberts scored the final bucket of the first half for Whiteoak and gave his team a 31-30 lead at the break.
A wild third quarter of play saw Fairfield and Whiteoak trade baskets and the lead over the first four minutes and change but, that all came to an end when James Bentley converted a three point play and Bryson Simmons hit a shot to propel the Lions to a 43-39 lead.
Hunter Ruckel responded for the Wildcats with a basket of his own as he tried to break loose of Wyatt Willey’s smothering defense.
However it was not enough for Whiteoak as the Lions closed the third quarter with an 11-6 run and took a 54-47 lead into the final frame.
Whiteoak was able to cut the lead to six points at 61-55 with 5:22 to play but were unable to get any closer as Fairfield reeled off seven straight points to take a 13 point 68-55 lead.
The Lions placed four players in double figures in the game with Buddlemeyer’s 32 leading the way. Bryson Simmons was next for the Lions with 15 while Bentley and Willey had 14 and 12 respectively.
Ryan Roberts and Zach Rand led the way for the Wildcats with 13 apiece and Deavin Cumberland finished with 10.
Fairfield will be back in action on January 15 when they host cross-county rivals the Hillsboro Indians.
Whiteoak will also be at home on Jan. 15 as they host the North Adams Green Devils in SHAC action.
Score by quarters
Fairfield: Setty 1-2/2-2; Buddlemeyer 13-6/9-32; Willey 1(1)-7/8-12; Simmons 4(2)-1/4-15; Priest 1/2-1; Bentley 6-2/3-14
Whiteoak: Cumberland 3(1)-1/2-10; Roberts 6-1/2-13; Bailey 2(1)-2/5-9; Ruckel 3-0/2-6; Carr 3-0/1-6; Rand 2(2)-3/4-13; Yeager 3-2/4-8
Ryan Applegate is the sports editor for The Times-Gazette. Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.