Fairland Dragons’ Thayer Flynn (3) drives for a layup during Sunday’s Division III district championship game. Fairland lost 52-50 on a last-second shot to Wheelersburg. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)
Fairland Dragons’ Thayer Flynn (3) drives for a layup during Sunday’s Division III district championship game. Fairland lost 52-50 on a last-second shot to Wheelersburg. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Archived Story

Dragons lose in district finals on last-second shot

Published 1:42am Monday, March 10, 2014

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

ATHENS — Doing the right thing turned out to be the wrong way for the Fairland Dragons.

With the game tied and only seconds left, Fairland had the right defense and executed it well. But going hard turned out to be the lucky break Wheelersburg needed.

Although Dylan Miller missed a game-winning shot near the basket, teammate J.D. Widdig got the backside rebound and scored with four seconds left to lift the Pirates to a 52-50 win over the Dragons to capture the Division III district title at Ohio University on Sunday.

“It was just one of those things. (Widdig) did the right thing. He went hard for the rebound. I think we did the right thing in coming over, helping double, trying to force (Miller) at least to get something back away from the basket instead of going to the basket,” said Fairland coach Nathan Speed.

“(Widdig) saw it coming. I think it’s one of those situations that you’re so locked in on getting the stop, the shot goes up and you’re thinking time is going to run out. It’s just a situation where they ended up with a big overload on that side of the floor. Our kids got sucked into Miller, getting help side, getting over, we just got sucked in so far there wasn’t anybody coming in to box out.”

Things just didn’t seem to go right the entire game for the Dragons. Evan Maddox played but left the game on several occasions to get quick stretching treatment on his back that has a bad disc.

Chance Short fouled out in the third quarter on two rapid fouls.

Maddox and Short — who average a combined 31 points a game — were scoreless in the first half. Each finished with five points.

Wheelersburg scored the first six points of the game. A layup by Nathan Campbell got the Dragons within 8-4 at the end of the quarter.

The Dragons took a 12-11 lead on two foul shots by Thayer Flynn at the 5:02 mark for Fairland’s only lead of the game. The Pirates got a short runner by Miller and a 14-footer by Austin May at the buzzer for a 26-20 lead at the break.

Fairland was 2-for-11 from the field in the quarter and 3-of-10 in the second quarter. Fortunately, the Dragons were 9-of-11 at the foul line in the second quarter.

The Dragons battled back to tie the game 31-31 on a layup by Campbell with two minutes left in the third quarter. Miller had a layup and two foul shots as the Pirates were up 35-31 heading into the final eight minutes.

“The first half I thought we were still a little sluggish offensively. The second half we did a better job of getting in the flow and movement and creating space and getting to the basket,” said Speed. “Defensively it was pretty good. We gave a great effort.”

Trailing 46-41, Phillips had a layup and Campbell’s steal led to a layup by Jacob Warner and it was 46-45.

Miller sank two foul shots but Flynn converted a three-point play and it was 48-48 with 1:02 left

Widdig made two foul shots but a driving layup by Phillips tied the game with 28 seconds to play.

Wheelersburg then ran time off the clock and set up its final play.

Phillips had 11 points and five rebounds, Flynn 11 points and Campbell seven points and three steals for the Dragons who end the season 14-12.

“I thought Luke did great. Luke’s did well all year. He always guarding the toughest player on the other team. He’s playing long, long minutes. He just doesn’t quit. He just keeps going,” said Speed.

“(Flynn’s) going to play hard. He’s emotional. He’s always going to give you 100 percent.”

The Pirates (16-8) were led by Miller with 21 points and six rebounds.

“The senior guys have been in the district finals three of the last four years. Last year they got lost in the district semi. They made a good run. I think that’s one thing they’ll be remembered for. They always played hard. They’re scrappy,” said Speed.

Speed praised the effort of his team, especially his seniors: Maddox, Phillips, Flynn, Warner, Bailey Manns and Phillip Beaty.

“The senior guys have been in the district finals three of the last four years. Last year they got lost in the district semi. They made a good run. I think that’s one thing they’ll be remembered for. They always played hard. They’re scrappy,” said Speed.

In the second game, Lucasville Valley edged Portsmouth 58-55.

Wheelersburg 8 18 9 17 = 52

Fairland 4 16 11 19 = 50

WHEELERSBURG (16-8): Tyler Claxon 2 0 5-6 9, J.D. Widdig 2 0 2-2 6, Camron Parsley 2 0 1-2 5, Jacob Spradlin 2 0 1-6 5, Dylan Miller 6 1 6-6 21, Austin May 2 0 0-0 4, Garrett Carmichael 0 0 2-2 2, Brandan Adams 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-39 17-24 52. 3-point goals: 1-9. Rebounds: 11-O, 20-D = 31 (Miller 6,May 6, Spradlin 5, Claxon 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 2 (Spradlin, Claxon). Steals: 4 (Parsley, Miller, May, Spradlin 1 each). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: None.

FAIRLAND (14-12): Chance Short 1 1 0-0 5, Luke Phillips 3 0 5-6 11, Nathan Campbell 3 0 1-3 7, Evan Maddox 2 0 1-1 5, Tyler Campbell 2 0 0-0 4, Thayer Flynn 3 0 5-5 11, Jacob Warner 2 1 0-1 7. Totals: 18-51 12-16 50. 3-point goals: 2-14. Rebounds: 13-O, 15-D = 28 (Short 6, Phillips 5, Maddox 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 6 (Maddox 2, Phillips 1, Short 1, N. Campbell 1, Flynn 1). Steals: 3 (N. Campbell 3). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 23. Fouled out: Short (3rd 1:00).

 

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