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Fairland falls to Portsmouth, 61-41

Fairland’s Chad Fisher shoots over the Portsmouth defenders Saturday. The Dragons lost 61-41 in the Division III district finals at Ohio University.

ATHENS — The defense was there. The offense was missing. As a result, the Fairland Dragons were struggling.

With their shooting off, the Dragons were unable to match the Portsmouth offense and the Trojans came away with a 61-41 win Saturday night in the Division III district finals at Ohio University.

Fairland (15-8) was just 17 of 48 from the field for 35 percent and made only one of 12 shots from behind the 3-point line.

“We haven’t shot well lately,” said Fairland coach Nathan Speed. “From Christmas on we’ve played really good defense and that’s won us a lot of games. To get this far you have to shoot well.”

Evan Salyers was the lone Fairland player who did manage to shoot well. The 6-foot-4 junior scored 20 points including 12 in the first half to keep the Dragons within striking range.

The Dragons held their own early as the lead changed hands three times before layups by Dion McKinley and Wayne Evans put the Trojans up for good at 9-6 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.

A layup by Salyers got the Dragons within 13-9 but Evans and Andrew Bendolph made two free throws each and Portsmouth led 17-9.

Portsmouth was just 4 of 13 from the field in the first quarter but converted 8 of 8 from the line.

Salyers scored six points in the second quarter including a layup with 2:17 left in the half to get Fairland within 29-18.

Evans hit a layup and Salyers sank two free throws but Evans drained a 3-pointer with one second on the clock and Portsmouth was up 34-20 at the break.

Holbrook followed up a missed shot early in the second half and Fairland was down 34-22.

But the Dragons shot just 5 of 15 from the field in the quarter and Bendolph scored seven points including two free throws with one second on the clock to open up a 48-32 lead.

Zaide Whittley and Evans scored to begin the fourth quarter and the lead was 52-32. Portsmouth led by as much as 22 and maintained the cushion for the rest of the game.

Holbrook had 10 points and seven rebounds as Fairland finished 15-8. Salyers also had seven rebounds.

Evans scored 24 points and Bendolph 15 for the Trojans (19-4) who face Wheelersburg at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Chesapeake faces Sugarcreek Garaway at 6:15 in the first game of the regionals at Ohio University.

Portsmouth 17 17 14 13 = 61

Fairland 9 11 12 9 = 41

FAIRLAND (15-8): Jon Baise 0 0 0-0 0, Chad Fisher 2 0 0-1 4, Eric Riley 0 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Holbrook 3 1 1-2 10, Evan Salyers 9 0 2-2 20, Blaine Fuller 0 0 3-6 3, Matt Campbell 1 0 0-0 2, Tanner Schenewark 1 0 0-0 2, Alec Warner 0 0 0-0 0, Evan Maddox 0 0 0-0 0, Anthony Dillard 0 0 0-0 0, Kyle Raines 0 0 0-0 0, Ryan Wooten 0 0 0-0 0, Thayer Flynn 0 0 0-0 0. Team totals: 17-48 6-11 41. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: Baise (4th 1:25). Three-point goals: 1-12. Rebounds: 15 offense, 17 defense = 32 (Salyers 7, Holbrook 7, Fuller 5). Teams rebounds: 3. Assists: 6 (Fisher 2). Steals: 5 (Fisher 2). Turnovers: 20.