It was a night of constant lead changes Friday night as the Fairfield Lions basketball team hosted the Fayetteville Rockets to open Southern Hills Athletic Conference play. Ultimately, the Rockets were able to dig down more than the Lions and came out on top with a final of 86-77.
It was fast paced action throughout the game with neither team giving an inch to the other and shooter for both teams finding their stroke early and often. Ethan Putnam for Fairfield, who had 11 of his 23 in the first quarter, was able to find room in the Rocket defense to repeatedly get his jump shot off and added two from behind the arc as well. On the other side of the basketball, Max Iles was able to drive to the basket at will and also added two three point baskets for 13 of his 27 points in the first quarter as well.
The first and second quarter was neck-and-neck as Fayetteville had the lead 27-26 after the first frame and Fairfield took the lead back before the half and led 47-45 at the break.
After the half, Fayetteville took off on the Lions a little and jumped out to a six point lead by the end of the third.
In the fourth, the Lions’ shooting hit a cold streak and Fayetteville’s stayed the same and they were able to shoot close to 70% from the free throw line to extend their lead to 86-77 by the end of the game.
“[Fayetteville] just started to pull away there in the third and that six point gap kind of hurt us,” said Lions’ head coach Everett Snyder after the game. “We would score and they would come right back down and score on their end. We have to dig down for two or three possessions in a row and play some good solid defense. Until we decided to play defense every possession, we’re not going to win those close games.
“Our offense in the first half ran really well but in the second half we kind of struggled to get the people open that we needed to have open. We talked at half about getting the ball in the paint a little more in the second, especially when they rotated their big guys out of the game, but we didn’t recognize or call for it when we got in that situation.”
The Lions are now 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the SHAC and will be back at it when they travel to Manchester on Tuesday for another SHAC game and will travel to Lynchburg-Clay on Friday night to take on the Mustangs.
FHS – 26 21 15 15 – 77
FPHS – 27 18 23 18 – 86
Fairfield – Putnam 7(2) 3/6 – 23; Evans 6 3/3 – 15; Daulton 1(3) 2/4 – 13; Harris 5 2/2 – 12; Lamme 2(1) – 7; Walker (1) – 3; Lamb 1 – 2; J. Current 2/2 – 2. Totals: 22(7) 12/17 – 77.
Fayetteville – Iles 5(2) 11/14 – 27; Lanham 5(4) – 22; Schaefer 2(3) 2/5 – 15; Dowers 7 – 14; Ball 4/7 – 4; Smyth 1 1/2 – 3; Wiederhold 1/2 – 1. Totals: 20(9) 19/30 – 86.
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.