Dragons cut down Highlanders, 60-31
ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Call it the victory of 1,000 cuts.
Fairland (5-1) continually scored off crisp passing and sharp cuts to the basket for layups to defeat Huntington High 60-31 in boys high school basketball Friday night at the Carl York Center.
The Dragons scored the first six points before the Highlanders (2-2) called a timeout. Fairland extended the lead to 18-8 by the end of the first quarter as sophomore Jacob Polcyn made a shot at the buzzer, and increased its advantage to 26-15 at halftime. The Dragons then put the contest away in the third quarter, outscoring HHS 17-2. The Highlanders did not make a field goal in the quarter.
“I’m pleased not just with our offense, but our defense,” Fairland head coach Nathan Speed said. “We did a really good job defending, of playing fundamental defense, not leaving our feet, our rotations were good. We definitely were focused on both ends.”
The third period was a microcosm of how Fairland played throughout. Five different players scored, with freshman Aiden Porter scoring six, sophomore Clayton Thomas five, Polcyn four, and senior Austin Gartin two. The Dragons scored the first seven points before HHS’ Garrick Hopkins made two free throws for the Highlanders, who are adjusting to heavy losses to graduation, transfers and former players not coming out so they can concentrate on football recruiting. Fairland then scored the next 10 points to close the quarter.
The Highlanders tried to go inside early, but found little success, missing shots and not receiving second chances. The most-astonishing statistic of the game was the Dragons out-rebounding Huntington High 22-5 and giving up no offensive boards.
When Fairland wasn’t making layups, it was hitting from long range. The Dragons made 22 of 34 shots (64.7 percent), including seven of 12 (58.3) from 3-point range. Porter led the way with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Thomas scored 14, making 4 of 7 shots, all 3-pointers.
“Everybody did his job,” Speed said. “This team is so unselfish moving the ball. They have an understanding of when to shoot and when to pass and didn’t take many bad shots, maybe two or three all night. They understand where to be and where to get to.”
The Dragons led by 31 twice, the first time when Gavin Hunt hit Andy Lange off a sharp cut to the basket for a layup with 1:37 to play, and again with 25 seconds left when Mason Manns scored on a drive.
Hopkins led Huntington High with nine points as the Highlanders made 12 of 29 shots (41.3 percent).
Huntington High returns to action at 4:45 p.m. Saturday vs. Columbus Africentric (6-2) in the Ironton Classic at Ironton High School’s Conley Center. The Nubians lost 58-56 Friday night to Columbus Eastmoor.
Fairland plays again Dec. 29 at Dublin Jerome (4-2).
HUNTINGTON HIGH 8 7 2 14 - 31: Patterson 2, Page 2, Brown 2, Blackwell 2, Sheffield 2, Hogsett 2, Sims 6, Hopkins 9, Stevens 6.
FAIRLAND 18 8 17 17 - 60: Polcyn 8, Porter 15, Mondlak 7, Gartin 6, Manns 2, Lange 2, Thomas 14.