XENIA — You could tell Valentine’s Day was over. There was no love in the Xenia High School gym, on Feb. 15.
Junior varsity coaches were seen jawing at each other, Spirit poles were confiscated from both student sections, cheerleaders sneered at each other, fans were ejected … and that all happened before halftime of Friday’s heated Greater Western Ohio Conference South division finale between rivals Fairborn and host Xenia.
Solid defense, rebounding and some key points earned Fairborn the season sweep with a 63-52 win.
“This is a big win for us, especially with the way that we’d been playing. We hadn’t been playing that well, but we got our senior big man back in Jarod Bodekor, and his presence on the floor is very awesome,” Fairborn coach Billy Harchick said. “He’s that vocal leader that we need out on the court. This is a big win for us to end the season on, going into the tournament.”
With two of the top scorers in the GWOC going toe-to-toe throughout much of the game, it only seemed right that scoring leader Samari Curtis of Xenia and Fairborn’s Shaunn Monroe (third in the GWOC) would both end up with a game-high 22 points. Monroe offered to shake Curtis’s hand after the game, but Curtis apparently did not see him as he walked past.
Monroe laughed it off.
“It’s a very hostile environment whenever these two teams play, and we knew that going in,” Harchick said. “They’re 10 minutes away, it’s their Senior Night and their amazing player was playing here for the last time. We knew that this would be a game like that, but we came in here and we fought hard.
“Shaunn (Monroe) had a big game with his 22 points. He kinda tweaked his ankle in the first half, but kept playing hard for us. O.J. Person had a great game with 16 points, Tylen (Eatmon) — he played defense on Samari for most of the night — he had 10, and I’d like to give a shout out to (Jarod) Bodekor. He scored five points for us, but had a heckuva game for us on both ends of the floor.”
Xenia got a 3-2 lead on a Curtis 3-pointer barely a minute into the game, but Monroe responded with a jump shot score on the Skyhawks’ next possession to put Fairborn back in front. It wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that Jate Bradley scored on a layup to even the score at 23-23 that the Buccaneers had a shot at getting the lead, but that never happened either.
Fairborn soon went on a 7-0 scoring spree to take the lead for good.
“We shot the ball terribly. We really didn’t turn the ball over that many times, which is a good thing. But when you go 1-for-16 from three point range and miss 10 free throws, it’s tough to win,” Xenia coach Kent Anderson said. “They missed 10 free throws too, but they got to the bucket more than we did, they got to the rim, but we were just a stagnant offense tonight. We didn’t do as much as we needed to do as a group. … We just didn’t execute very well offensively tonight.”
Aside from Curtis’s 22, Xenia’s Zack Gaither and Dylan Hoosier each scored seven points, Bradley and Noah Crawford each scored six points while Isaiah Hoyt added four.
Fairborn ends the regular season with a 14-8 overall record and a second-place finish in the GWOC South standings with a 10-4 mark. The Skyhawks begin Division I sectional tournament play as the eighth seed. They’ll take on No. 11-seed Springboro at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 at Butler High School in Vandalia.
Xenia is now 12-10 overall, and finishes third in the GWOC South with an 8-6 mark. The ninth seeded Buccaneers have a first-round bye in the tournament. they’ll play the winner between seventh seed Miamisburg and No. 10 Lebanon at 7:30 pm. Tuesday, Feb. 26 at Centerville High School.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.