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Dragons close old gym with upset of Panthers

PROCTORVILLE – Someone wrote a great script for the Fairland Dragons.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

PROCTORVILLE – Someone wrote a great script for the Fairland Dragons. Then coach John McClung went out and directed his team to an award-winning performance.

Well, it might not win an Oscar, but it was a performance that gave the Dragons a 49-41 upset win over the Chesapeake Panthers Friday in the final game to be played in the old Fairland gym.

The Dragons move into their new high school gym next season, so winning their finale against their arch-rivals made for an even bigger win.

"It was just great," McClung said after Fairland nearly spoiled Chesapeake’s bid for an outright Ohio Valley Conference championship.

The Panthers finished 6-2 in the OVC, one game ahead of South Point and Rock Hill. South Point needed a win over Rock Hill and a Chesapeake loss to gain a share of the title. But Rock Hill upset the Pointers to give Chesapeake the outright title.

Darren Colburn played a key role for the Dragons as he scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Chris Dinwiddie added 11 points and five assists for Fairland (9-11, 4-4).

"We didn’t shoot well the first quarter, then we started getting after every loose ball," McClung said. "Colburn played really hard the whole game and he was all over the place. He rebounded well and he hit some layups at the end of the game to keep the ball up.

"Michael Hill did a good job handling ball, and the seniors stepped up and played a good, solid game. Dru Brooks had been lost the past few games, but he stepped it up. Brad Taliferro has been consistent all year, and Dinwiddie is only 75 percent on his ankle but got us some key scoring."

Nick Karle had 14 points and Aaron Gossett 10 to pace Chesapeake (15-5).

The Panthers nearly threw a shutout the first quarter as they took a 13-2 lead. But then Chesapeake went 0-for-8 from the field the second quarter and failed to score.

Meanwhile, Fairland put 20 points on the board to go in front.

Dinwiddie’s 3-pointer with 5:01 left in the half put the Dragons ahead 14-13 and they continued with eight more points to lead 22-13 at the break.

"We changed it up defensively. We didn’t let them get comfortable in any of their sets. We played a lot of zone and controlled the tempo," McClung said.

The Panthers got within 30-27 at the end of the third quarter as Karle scored eight points, then took a 31-30 lead with two straight baskets to begin the fourth quarter.

But Colburn scored 11 points the fourth quarter to rally the Dragons including a basket with 6:19 left that gave the Fairland a lead it would never relinquish.

For Chesapeake, it was the second OVC road loss in three games. The Panthers lost last Friday at Rock Hill when they failed to convert easy shots inside the lane.

"We missed a lot of easy, open shots and layups, and we got outrebounded. When those things happen, you’re not going to win," Panthers coach Norm Persin said. "We didn’t play well, I didn’t coach well, and we played with no emotion. That’s not a good combination."

Chesapeake was just 5 of 23 from the field the fourth quarter.

Fairland will play Oak Hill at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at South Webster in the Division III sectional tournament. Chesapeake will play in the sectional at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at South Webster against the Ironton-Coal Grove winner.

In the reserve game, Chesapeake won 59-27 as Andy Stapleton scored 15 and Phillip Butcher 11. Fairland was led by Daniel Spears with nine.

Chesapeake 13 0 14 14 – 41

Fairland 2 20 8 19 – 49

CHESAPEAKE (15-5, 6-2): Aaron Gossett 5 0 0-1 10, Nick Karle 6 0 2-2 14, Adam Skeens 0 0 0-0 0, Daniel Thompson 0 0 0-0 0, Timmy Thacker 0 0 0-0 0, Luke Beach 0 0 0-0 0, Brad Fulton 2 0 0-0 4, Tommie Hill 0 1 2-2 5, Matt Rucker 4 0 0-0 8. Totals: 17 1 4-5 41. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 14.

FAIRLAND (9-11, 4-4): Michael Hill 1 0 0-2 2, Darren Colburn 8 0 4-6 20, Dru Brooks 0 2 0-1 6, Chris Dinwiddie 4 1 0-0 11, Brad Taliaferro 0 2 0-0 6, Ryan White 2 0 0-0 4, Doug Spence 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-38 (5-13) 4-9. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 6-13=19 (Colburn 8, Brooks 6). Assists: 16 (Dinwiddie 5, Hill 4). Steals: 15 (Brooks 5). Turnovers: 13. Blocked shots: 1 (Colburn).