Lady Dragons exceed goals with trip to regionals

Published 12:55 am Monday, March 5, 2012


Tribune Sports Editor


ATHENS — Good just got better.

The Fairland Lady Dragons began the season hoping to have a good year. The good has turned into great as they have surpassed their goals after beating North Adams 49-33 on Saturday to win the Division III district title to remain unbeaten and advanced to the regional semifinals.

Fairland (23-0) will face the Oak Hill Lady Oaks (21-3) at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday at the Ohio University Convocation Center.

“Our goals were to win 14 games, win our conference and make it to the district championship game. We exceeded every goal we set,” said Fairland coach Jon Buchanan.

“We didn’t set a goal to be 23-0. We just wanted to get better all season and we did that.”

While the Lady Dragons were getting better and rolling up a school-record 23 wins, one of their victims was Oak Hill.

In the first meeting, Fairland won 74-60 as Terra Stapleton went 12 of 17 from the floor and 8 of 8 from the line for 32 points. She also had 19 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

Oak Hill was 9 of 32 from the 3-point line in the first meeting and committed 20 turnovers against the Fairland defense.

Fairland is making only its second-ever trip to the regionals while Wednesday’s game is Oak Hill’s 12th regional tournament and fifth straight. The senior class is 95-7 and the winningest senior class in school history.

The 6-foot-4 Stapleton — a sophomore — leads Fairland in scoring at 21.9 points per game, rebounding at 13.4, and had 4.1 blocks per game. She is shooting 64 percent from the field and 75 from the foul line.

Joining her in the starting lineup are 5-7 point guard Katie Fuller, 5-10 junior Jaimie Phillips, 5-7 sophomore Chandler Fulks and 5-8 freshman Kelsey Riley. The top player off the bench is 5-9 junior Kayla Swiger.

Fuller averages 5.3 points and 2.0 assists an outing, Fulks 7.8 points and 3.7 assists, Swiger8.5 points, and Riley — the team’s defensive stopper — 5.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Oak Hill will start 5-8 senior Breanna Butler, 5-10 senior Taylor Hale, 5-10 senior Lakin Caudill, 5-10 junior Paige Roseberry and 5-7 sophomore Leanna Adkins.

Caudill did not play in the first matchup.

Butler leads the Lady Oaks with an 18.2 scoring average. Hale averages 16.8 per game and Caudill 11.3.

The top substitutes are Abby Haislop, Merrill Melvin and Alex Kuhn.

The second game on Wednesday has Beverly Fort Frye (22-2) playing Columbus Africentric. The winners meet at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in the regional finals with a trip to the state tournament at stake.