FAIRBORN — Seconds away from her team’s first win and with two free throws to clinch the victory, Jodee Austin did a little role playing when she stepped to the line.
“I just kind of imagined myself shooting free throws at practice,” the Fairborn High School senior said. “I stepped up to the line, they passed me the ball. There was basically no pressure.”
And like in practice, Austin drained the two shots and helped the Skyhawks beat Stebbins, 54-50, Wednesday to get that elusive “W.”
Stebbins had 7.8 seconds left, but Fairborn pressured the ball and a wild shot banked into a Fairborn player’s hands.
And there was a big sigh of relief inside the Baker Middle School gym.
“Oh my gosh, we have been working so hard,” Austin said. “So well deserved.”
Austin finished with a team-high 16 and she had plenty of help. Sophomore Nakiah Dunman, scored 13 points and grabbed a ball knocked away by freshman Izzy Dinwiddie as Stebbins was trying to tie the game in the final 10 seconds. Senior Cassidy Mustard added 10 points, three of which came on a bucket and foul with 2:47 left to cut a 50-45 Stebbins lead down to 50-48. Dunman then stepped up again, tying the score at 50 with a drive to the hoop and then scoring with 42 seconds left to give Fairborn the lead for good.
“I’m happy for them because they earned it,” Coach Brooklyn Summitt said. “I’m just really proud of them. The girls have been working really hard. They really want to get better.”
In improving to 1-12 overall and in the Miami Valley League Valley Division, Fairborn put together a four-quarter game and didn’t cave whenever Stebbins made a run. The Indians (1-7 overall and in the MVL) battled back from an early deficit and opened up a 25-18 lead midway through the second quarter. But Fairborn scored eight straight on a pair of free throws from Mustard, and then three-pointers from Mustard and Austin. Stebbins led, 30-28, at halftime but the Skyhawks went on an 11-4 run to take a 39-34 lead with 4:17 left in the third quarter.
Stebbins then outscored Fairborn 13-3 to take a 47-42 lead with 4:41 left in the game. But Fairborn came right back.
Freshman Ava Williams made one of two at the free throw line a few seconds later, then senior Tessa Hoskins made a pair at the line to make it 47-45 with 3:36 left.
Stebbins freshman Zoey Ledbetter hit a three-pointer to give the Indians a 50-45 lead with 3:27, left but those were the last points they scored. About a minute later Mustard made her three-point play.
“Today was good for them to realize what they can do if they keep fighting,” Summitt said. “I’m happy they got this.”
Fairborn has back-to-back games with Tippecanoe Friday night and Saturday morning.