XENIA — The host Xenia Buccaneers grabbed the lead 30 seconds into their Dec. 19 girls high school basketball battle with Greene County divisional foe Fairborn, but the Skyhawks owned the rest of the quarter and the game.
Roughly 20 seconds after Xenia’s Haley McManus hit a jump shot from the right side for a 2-0 lead, a veteran Fairborn bunch responded with a 27-0 run that lasted the rest of the quarter. It was at least three minutes into the second period of play before Xenia would score again, as the Skyhawks rolled to an eventual 62-28 win, Dec. 19 at Xenia High.
Nine of the 10 players in the Fairborn scorebook scored at least two points in the win. The Oktavec sisters, senior Evelyn and freshman Natalie, led the team with 18 and 15 points respectively, and Khala Powell finished with eight.
Fairborn had a commanding 37-4 lead at the break.
“Coach Hand is doing a good job with his kids. I’ve been in his position where you’re a little out-manned,” Fairborn coach Jim Cole said. “It was an opportunity for us to get some of our kids a little more playing time, and to get them more accustomed to playing with some varsity players.
“That was essentially our game plan: To get some kids some good minutes. We didn’t have the intention of trying to run up the score or anything like that.”
During timeouts, the Xenia players could be heard encouraging each other not to give up. And they surely didn’t. Despite the lopsided halftime score, Xenia held its own the rest of the way. Fairborn outscored Xenia by a slim 25-24 margin in the second half.
Xenia’s Kamea Baker scored all 13 of her team-best 13 points in the second half. The team’s lone senior, Alashia Adams, finished with nine points, seven of which came in the second half, McManus finished with four points and Reaghan Wakefield had a second-half bucket as well.
“We came out a bit flat in the first half, and Fairborn took advantage of that and exposed us,” Xenia coach Jamie Hand said. “But again, in the second half we showed that we don’t quit. We played a really good first half against West Carrollton (a 45-40 Dec. 15 loss), and we played a good second half tonight with Fairborn. We need to just put those efforts together and get a full game.”
Xenia (0-7, 0-4 Greater Western Ohio Conference, American South) heads north to Tipp City for its next contest, a 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 game at Tippecanoe. Fairborn (5-3, 4-1 GWOC South) also plays its next contest on Saturday. The Skyhawks will host Butler at 1 p.m. at Baker Middle School.
Fairborn’s Cole came away impressed with Xenia’s effort, but especially with the team’s sportsmanship throughout the game.
“Those kids play hard and with a lot of heart,” he said. “One thing too, there were times when some of our girls got knocked down, and there was always a Xenia player there to help them up and be sure they were OK. They’re going about things the right way over here. They have a good foundation, I’m sure things will get better for them in the future if they keep it up.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.