TROTWOOD — Xenia won in dominating fashion to avenge a regular-season loss; and Fairborn needed a second-half rally to win its game, Friday, Feb. 24.
Either way, the two Greene County and Greater Western Ohio Conference American South Division foes will be meeting up in the next round of the Division I boys high school basketball sectional playoffs.
Moments before the second half of Xenia’s win over Fairmont, a Buccaneers fan was pacing up and back behind the Xenia bench yelling “Payback! …. Pay…. BACK!”
He was chanting in reference to Xenia’s Feb. 3 loss to the same Fairmont Firebirds, 43-66 in Kettering.
It was payback indeed for the Xenia Buccaneers (16-7) as they handed Fairmont a lopsided 67-37 loss just moments before Fairborn’s contest with Troy.
“I cannot remember a tournament game where we committed ourselves for 32 minutes, like we did tonight,” Xenia coach Kent Anderson said. “I’m so pleased with our defense tonight. Best by far this season, and we did it against a quality team tonight,.”
The Xenia defense forced Fairmont into 26 turnovers. And when they weren’t giving the ‘Birds fits with their defense, three Bucs finished in double-figure scoring (Samari Curtis had 19, Kobe Hughlett scored, Meechi Harris tossed in a dozen points) and Ricky Williams was almost there with nine points.
Even Fairmont’s coach came away impressed with Xenia’s defensive effort.
“I thought they wanted out heads on a silver platter. That’s what it looked like to me. Our guys didn’t respond, and we had a very motivated basketball team on our hands in the white (and blue) uniforms,” Fairmont coach Blair Albright said. “That’s quite possibly the worst basketball game that we’ve played in my (four-year) tenure at Fairmont.”
Nobody on Fairmont’s team scored into double figures for the game. Andrew Forman came the closest, finishing with eight.
Skyhawks rally past Troy: Down by eight points at halftime, Fairborn put the clamps on the Trojans with some pesky defense and rallied to a 66-58 win.
Fairborn (13-10) had beaten Troy on the Trojans’ floor, 73-58, back in January. But they Skyhawks had a much tougher time of it this time around.
“Our guys got down, but they didn’t give up. They knew they had to step up the defense … we put a lot of pressure on them, and kept our composure, which is definitely something that needs to be done at tournament time. That shows our experience in these tough situations, and we were able to come out on top against a Troy program that really gave us a battle tonight,” Fairborn coach Nathan Chivington said.
Branden Lilley scored a game-high 20 points, 18 of which came from behind the 3-point line. Brandon Easterling muscled his way to a 15-point evening, Shaunn Monroe tossed in 12 points and Jacob Webb was next with 10.
The Xenia and Fairborn wins set up a matchup between the two GWOC foes at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28 at Centerville High School.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.