Seniors lift Dragons to sectional crown

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 3, 2006

PEDRO — All season the talk surrounding the Fairland Dragons was about their young players. But it was the seasoned veterans who grabbed control of the conversation Friday night.

Seniors Josh Johnson, Adam Fuller and Kyle Wise all made key plays down the stretch that enabled the Dragons to tie the game and eventually win 57-52 in overtime against the Northwest Mohawks to win the Division III sectional tournament.

Johnson had two foul shots to tie the game plus a layup, Fuller hit a 3-pointer to get Fairland within two points, and Wise turned a putback into a three-point play that tied the game and forced overtime.

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“The seniors stepped up and took over for us down the stretch when we needed it. (Senior) Matt Burd did a great job defensively and with his intensity, and (senior) Rich Staggs had a couple of big rebounds,” Fairland coach Chad Belville said.

“It was a great win for our seniors, but it was a great team win. Everybody put for the effort and contributed something.”

Fairland (11-10) saw a 34-21 lead with 4:22 left in the third quarter evaporate midway through the fourth quarter.

Northwest (10-11) took a 42-40 lead on a layup by Brandon Zuefle with 3:17 to play. Johnson’s foul shots tied the game but Ryan Sissler hit a 3-pointer and Andrew Ellis sank two foul shots with two minutes left in the fourth quarter

to give Northwest a 47-42 lead.

After a layup by Johnson, Zuefle took a pass from Ellis for a layup and a 49-44 lead.

Fuller hit a 3-pointer from he corner and Ellis answer by making the second of two foul shots with 5 seconds left and it was 50-47.

Wise entered the game to give the Dragons an extra 3-point goal shooter. Cole Hatfield got loose only to miss his 3-point attempt. Wise grabbed the rebound, scored and was fouled. He tacked on the point after with 33 seconds left to tie the game and send it into overtime.

“We put Wise in to shoot the 3 if needed,” Belville said. “The play was set up for Hatfield and he got an open look. We told Kyle and Michael (Lamb) to fight through the screens because if we don’t get the rebound we have to foul.”

Hatfield connected on two foul shots and Fuller had a layup as the lead was 54-50. Ellis sank two foul shots. Johnson made another free throw with 26 seconds left and Hatfield sank two more foul shots and it was 57-52 with 18 seconds to go.

Hatfield had 17 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and three assists. Johnson and Lamb added 10 points each.

Ellis had 25 points and 15 rebounds. Zuefle scped 14 points.

Fairland will play Alexander at 2 p.m. next Sunday at the Ohio University Convocation Center in the district semifinals.



NORTHWEST (10-11): Kylon Crabtree 2-7 (1-5) 3-3 8, Ryan Sissel 1-4 (1-3) 0-2 3, Brandon Zuefle 5-15 (1-5) 3-3 14, Bo Wilson 0-3 (0-1) 2-2 2, Andrew Ellis 6-12 (0-0) 13-16

25, Quinn Dunn 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0, Aaron Ervin 0-1 (0-0) 0-0 0, Derek Lilly 0-1 (0-1) 0-0 0, Travis Perry 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0. Totals: 14-44



52. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None. Rebounds; 13-29=42 (Ellis 15, Sissel 12). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 3 (Ellis 2). Steals: 2 (Crabtree, Wilson). Turnovers: 26. Blocked shots: 3 (Sissel 2, Ellis 1).

FAIRLAND (11-10): Josh Johnson 3-9 (0-1) 4-7 10, Adam Fuller 3-10 (1-3) 0-0 7, Cole Hatfield 5-16 (1-4) 6-6 17, Michael Lamb 4-8 (0-0) 0-0 10, Matt Burd 2-4 (0-0) 0-0 4, Dustin Bumgardner 2-6 (0-0) 0-1 4, Kyle Wise 1-5 (0-2) 1-1 3, Ethan Long 0-1 (0-0) 0-0 0, Rich Staggs 0-1 (0-0) 0-0 0. Totals: 22-62



57. Fouls: 22. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 11-16=27 (Hatfield 7, Bumgardner 5, Lamb 4, Wise 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 7 (Hatfield 3, Johnson 3). Steals: 16 (Hatfield 7, Burd 3). Turnovers: 12. Blocked shots: 2 (Lamb, Burd).