Fayette’s boys need a win at home Friday against Pettisville to stay on top of the BBC as the second half of the league schedule gets underway.
The Eagles (8-3, 4-0) finished with a decisive 43-25 victory Thursday at Hilltop (3-8, 0-4), but there was a period of time when coach Todd Mitchell wasn’t sure how things were going to end up.
Fayette was on top by 18 points at half-time after a 9-0 first-quarter run and a 14-1 stretch in the second period. Chandler Sanford hit a pair of three-pointers in the opening quarter and Logan Franks canned two in the second as the Eagle offense rolled.
Then came the third quarter.
Neither team scored during the opening two minutes of the second half and Hilltop finally broke the silence with a three-point shot. The Cadets added a pair of field goals and cut the lead to nine points before Cole Burkholder sank a free throw and later hit a field goal. That was it for the Eagle offense that quarter.
“We missed at least eight uncontested lay-ups and we had poor rebounding,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell knew that Hilltop had nearly knocked off Maumee Valley Country Day two nights earlier—losing only by late free throws—and he was wondering just what the team without a league win was capable of doing.
As it turned out, they weren’t able to mount a come-back. The teams mostly traded baskets in the fourth quarter, with Fayette getting a heavier kick through a late three-point shot from Tyler Cox.
The Eagles collected only 13 rebounds for the game, but kept turnovers at a low eight. Franks never missed a shot all night.
Cox made nine blocks and collected three steals. Franks and Zayne Colegrove each gave three assists.
Coach Mitchell is pleased with the team’s defensive showing this season—giving up an average of 35 points a game—but games are staying close with the offense averaging only 42.
JV BOYS: Fayette's JV boys pulled away from Hilltop in the second quarter Thursday and finished with a big 39-19 win.
The Eagles got off to a slow start with only six points in the opening quarter, but more than doubled that in the second quarter—including seven for 11 shooting from the line—and led 21-8 at halftime. The Cadets were limited to only two field goals in the middle two quarters.
Fayette outpaced its opponent 17-1 at the line, with Danial Michael shooting seven for 10.
Michael led scoring with nine points and Justin Stoltzfus added eight.
Fayette girls coach Tim Nicely thought there might be some scoring runs when Hilltop visited Friday, and he was right.
The Cadets took the first one, the Eagles came back with their own, then it was a battle for the remainder of the night.
An exciting game, an excellent crowd, and best yet—a league victory for Fayette.
“Hilltop got the first punch in,” Nicely said about the Cadets’ early 9-0 lead.
Hilltop was still ahead by nine when the quarter ended and raised it to 11 before the Eagle offense started to click. Kaela Seiler canned a pair of threes and added a free throw. Ashtyn Baker scored a pair of buckets and single scores came from Paige Keefer, Alexis Fruchey and Mikayla Smith.
Melanie Seiler hit a buzzer-beater to cap Fayette’s 23-point quarter and go into intermission with a two-point lead.
An 8-2 run gave the Eagles a good lead that withered in the fourth quarter as Hilltop cut the margin to three points, 44-41, with 3:40 to play.
Single buckets by five different shooters, five-for-nine shooting from the line, and a couple of Hilltop turnovers gave Fayette the win.
“Everyone who played contributed to the win,” Nicely said.
After Hilltop’s Hannah Bleikamp scored 11 first-quarter points, Nicely assigned Melanie Seiler the job of slowing her down. She hit two buckets in the second quarter and only a free throw in the third.
Allison Cuff gave four assists and grabbed five rebounds in addition to her four points.
It was Smith’s night to ignite on offense with seven buckets—two from outside the arc—to finish with 19 points. Taylor Griffiths gave an excellent floor game with six blocks and nine rebounds.
AYERSVILLE—The Pilots finally pulled away in a close game to take a non-conference victory, 51-46.
Kaela Seiler opened with a 10-point first quarter to give Fayette a 15-8 lead, but the Eagles' scoring dropped off in the second quarter and the score was knotted at half-time.
Griffiths was hot in the third quarter, scoring 13 of the team's 14 points that period, but the Eagles still trailed by a point going into the fourth. Smith, Fruchey and Seiler each scored single buckets, but that wasn't quite enough to keep pace with Ayersville.
Seiler and Griffiths each hit three three-point shots for the game and Smith went five for five from the line.
JV GIRLS: A weak third quarter by Fayette gave Hilltop the edge in the girls JV contest Friday. The Eagles went into intermission with a 15-7 lead, but dropped the BBC contest 24-21.
Adriana Hylander's three-point shot was the only score for Fayette in the third quarter and the Eagles couldn’t keep pace in the fourth.
“We missed a couple key rebounds and had a couple key turnovers at bad times,” said coach Sarah Bird. “We lost our five-point lead we had going into the last two minutes.”
Maddie Maginn and Michaela Bates were the leading scorers with five points each.
AYERSVILLE—Despite getting shut out in the first quarter, Fayette's offense got better in each of the remaining quarters to post a 30-25 win.
“We made that a little more interesting than it should have been,” Coach Bird said. “The first half was pretty ugly but the girls fought back hard from a nine-point deficit at the half. They stuck with the plan, worked hard and got the win.”
Maginn shot four for five from the line in the fourth quarter and Hylander hit a pair of threes to bring the Eagles from behind.
Fayette finished the game with 13 free throws compared to three for the Pilots.
Hylander led scoring with nine, followed by Maginn with eight.
Summerfield outscored Morenci in three of four quarters at home Friday to claim a 53-40 boys TCC win.
“It was a winnable game,” said Bulldog coach Jim Bauer. “We’re just struggling in a lot of areas.”
Shooting troubles kept Morenci (1-8, 0-5) in catch-up mode as the first quarter ended and they never got closer than four points for the remainder of the night.
Austin Sandusky hit a three-pointer early in the second quarter to pull within six and a three by Bobby Black made it a five-point game, 18-13.
Consecutive buckets by Alex Thomas cut the lead to four, 21-17, but misses and turnover followed and Summerfield (4-5, 3-2) took a 28-19 lead into intermission.
Hayze Wolf and Black both hit from the outside in the third quarter, but Morenci could get no closer than five points. Scoring slowed to only five points in the final quarter as Summerfield stayed on top.
“We just have to put the ball in the hoop,” Bauer said. “That would help us out in a lot of areas.”
Austin Thomas had a good offensive night with 13 points and Bauer praised his brother Alex’s hustle from start to finish.
Alex collected seven rebounds and made three steals. Wolf also had three steals and Sandusky gave five assists.
WHITMORE LAKE—Coach Bauer didn’t see the team play that his squad gave in the Coldwater tournament and it showed in a 57-42 loss at Whitmore Lake.
Wolf led scoring with 13 points and he also grabbed eight rebounds. Sandusky made four steals and Alex Thomas gave three assists.
JV BOYS: A great team win. That's how Morenci JV boys basketball coach Jed Hall viewed the Bulldogs' 54-33 victory Thursday at Summerfield.
Morenci trailed after a quarter, but turned it around to lead 26-18 after Tucker Stover banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer as the second period ended.
"At half-time we challenged the kids to double the lead by the end of the third, and to limit Summerfield to 12 second half points," Hall said, "and the kids came out ready to do that."
The Morenci lead grew to 42-23 at the end of the third, and the Bulldogs nearly completed their defensive goal by the end of the game.
"We played great second half defense, ran our offense well, and were able to fast break really well," Hall said.
Bladen Mellon led with 13 points, followed by Aaron Elarton and Stover with 11 each. Stover was credited with a good game under the boards and for causing some turnovers.
WHITMORE LAKE—The Bulldogs gave up an early lead last week at Whitmore Lake, but came back with a strong third quarter to go on top again. Elarton and Mellon combined for 15 of the 17 points scored in the third.
The Trojans were limited to six points in the final period and Morenci claimed a 52-42 league win.
"Offensively we did well getting fast break points, but struggled against zones by forcing early shots," Coach Hall said. "Defensively we pick and choose spots to hustle instead of doing our jobs 100 percent of the time."
Elarton finished with 23 points in his first game with the JV squad. Mellon added 17, including five three-pointers.
MORENCI GIRLS: A pair of scoreless quarters doomed Morenci’s varsity girls Friday, leading Summerfield to a 34-19 conference win.
The Bulldogs couldn’t get the ball through the hoop in the opening quarter and the visitors took an 11-0 lead. Hannah Jeffers broke the ice early in the second quarter with a three-point shot.
Brianna Gilson added a field goal and Jeffers canned one to close the gap to 11-8, but then another dry spell hit. Summerfield went on a 13-2 run to end the first half and after that it went downhill for the Bulldogs.
Morenci was shut out for the next 12 minutes until Gilson sank a three, followed by a bucket from Melissa Burk. Chloe Molitierno scored off a steal and Burk added another field goal to close up the Bulldogs’ scoring.
Mariah Gillen came through with several blocks throughout the contest.
WHITMORE LAKE—The Bulldogs were leading at home after three quarters last week when Whitmore Lake visited, but scored only a single free throw in the final quarter and lost 41-30.
Jeffers less scoring with 14 points. She also collected 11 rebounds and three steals. Gilson grabbed six rebounds and five steals.
Morenci junior varsity team earned its first win of the season last week at Whitmore Lake. No details about the game were provided.