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Chesapeake routs Fairland in OVC battle

Chesapeake Panthers’ Brandon Noble (with the ball) fights to keep possession as Fairland’s Jonathan Holbrook tries to take it away. Chesapeake won the Ohio Valley Conference game 72-31. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

CHESAPEAKE — The showdown turned into a showcase.

When Chesapeake hosted the Fairland Dragons Friday, it was to be the Battle Royale for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference.

But the Panthers took center stage and dominated the Dragons in racking up a 72-31 win as they tightened their hold on first place.

Chesapeake shot a blistering 27 of 52 from the field for 52 percent led by Austin McMaster who had a game-high 27 points on 11 of 17 shooting from the field.

“We were fortunate to hit some shots to put us in a good position,” said Panthers’ coach Ryan Davis whose team improved to 16-1 overall and 7-0 in the OVC.

But it was the defense that made the biggest difference according to Davis.

“I thought defensively we did a good job of contesting shots and being there,” said Davis. “We didn’t do a great job of defensive rebounding, but we did do a good job of being there and making shots tough on them.”

Fairland (12-6, 6-2) had 23 turnovers and shot just 12 of 53 from the field for 23 percent. Those factors plus Chesapeake’s defense caused the Dragons to wander from their game plan.

“All week long we worked on long possessions, running clock and running more clock,” said Fairland coach Nathan Speed. “We missed a few shots and a few gimmies and then we didn’t stay patient.

“But I’ll give (Chesapeake) credit. They’re pretty doggone good defensively. They get after you. They force those bad shots.”

Fairland was down 13-6 with 3:11 left in the first quarter after a 15-footer by Jon Baise, but the Panthers outscored the Dragons 7-2 the rest of the way to lead 20-8.

McMaster scored 12 points in the first quarter on 6 of 7 shooting. Eric Kennedy’s 3-point play to begin the second quarter started an 8-2 run that he capped with a 3-pointer and the lead was 28-12.

Kennedy’s layup just before the end of the half pushed the Panthers’ lead to 35-16 at the break.

Fairland got layups by Jonathan Holbrook and Evan Salyers to begin the second half off passes from Chad Fisher who had worked his way into the lane and it was 35-20 with 7:25 on the clock.

But the Dragons did not score the rest of the quarter and didn’t score again until Slayers hit the second of two foul shots with 4:43 to play in the game, a dry spell covering 10:52.

Fairland didn’t make a field goal until Holbrook connected on a trey with 3:54 left.

During that time the Panthers went on a 23-0 run and built an insurmountable 58-20 lead.

“The second half we let them drive the lane twice to start the half. We settled down defensively after that and stopped their penetration,” said Davis.

McMaster had six rebounds while Colin Kennedy finished with 10 points and seven boards. Eric Kennedy had 12 points with Nathan Copley getting nine points, three steals and six assists.

Holbrook had 15 points and eight rebounds for Fairland. Salyers finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.

The two teams meet again Saturday at Fairland.

Fairland 8 8 4 11 = 31

Chesapeake 20 15 12 25 = 72

FAIRLAND (12-6, 6-2): Jon Baise 1 0 0-1 2, Chad Fisher 1 0 2-2 4, Eric Riley 0 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Holbrook 5 1 2-3 15, Evan Salyers 4 0 1-3 9, Blaine Fuller 0 0 1-2 1, Evan Maddox 0 0 0-0 0, Matt Campbell 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-53 6-11 31. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: Fisher (4th 5:28), Holbrook (4th 1:49). 3-point goals: 1-13. Rebounds: 11 offense, 22 defense = 33 (Salyers 9, Holbrook 8). Team/deadball rebounds: 10. Assists: 6 (Fisher 2, Fuller 2). Steals: 4. Turnovers: 23.

CHESAPEAKE (16-1, 7-0): Nathan Copley 2 1 2-2 9, Patrick Hintz 1 0 0-0 2, Javon Thompson 1 1 0-0 5, Austin McMaster 11 0 5-8 27, Colin Kennedy 3 0 4-5 10, Eric Kennedy 3 1 3-3 12, Brandon Noble 2 1 0-0 7, Seth Skeens 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-52 14-19 72. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: McMaster (4th 5:34), C. Kennedy (4th 3:35). 3-point goals: 5-13. Rebounds: 7 offense, 31 defense = 38 (C. Kennedy 7, McMasters 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 8. Assists: 12 (Copley 6, Thompson 3). Steals: 12 (Copley 3). Turnovers: 12.