Fairland rallies by Southeastern, 58-56
ATHENS — It wasn’t the physical part of the game that bothered Fairland coach Nathan Speed, it was the mental aspect.
Speed wasn’t pleased with his team’s mental approach in the first half. Once the Dragons got their minds set, they rallied from a 16-point deficit and beat the Southeastern Panthers 58-56 Friday in the Division III district semifinals at Ohio University.
“In the beginning we just stood around and looked at each other. We just played weak. That’s one of the things we talked about at halftime,” said Speed.
“We just looked scared. We looked weak and soft. It was just ugly to watch. I told them I didn’t care if they didn’t score another basket, just stop being so weak and timid.”
The Dragons outscored the Panthers 39-23 in the second half including 20-11 in the fourth quarter.
With the win, Fairland (14-11) will play Wheelersburg at 2 p.m. Sunday in the district finals.
Chance Short led the Dragons with 21 points. Nathan Campbell added eight points, nine rebounds and three steals.
Leading scorer Evan Maddox had nine points despite playing with an injured back that forced him out of the game on a couple of occasions.
“With Evan hurt tonight, we didn’t have any time to adjust to it. We didn’t know how we were going to be able to play,” said Speed.
Austin Hice and Tyler Cartee scored 17 points each for Southeastern (18-5). Jordan Allen had 13 rebounds and eight points.
The Dragons started hot as they jumped out to a 10-5 lead. Maddox drained a long 3-pointer to start the game and Short scored seven points in the spurt including a 3-pointer.
“It wasn’t that we were playing great offensively, we were just getting good open looks and knocking it down. We really weren’t really moving that well. We were standing and not cutting. Then we did a better job screening, getting guys open, moving without the ball. We learned to play without Evan,” said Speed.
But the Panthers went on a 8-0 run to take a 13-12 lead when Allen had a putback with 41 seconds on the clock.
Short hit a 15-footer but Allen followed up another missed shot just before the buzzer and it was 15-14.
After a quick trade of two points, Southeastern scored six unanswered points for a 23-16 lead.
A layup by Jacob Warner ended the run and Fairland was down 23-18 with 3:04 left in the half.
But the Panthers closed the half with a 10-0 run that included triples by Dylan Miles and Kannon Straughsbaugh and the lead was 33-19 at the break.
Fairland came out hot again in the second half with Short scoring another seven points in the quarter.
A 15-footer by Hice gave the Panthers their biggest lead at 35-19, but the Dragons rallied for a 10-2 run and got within 37-29 at the 4:03 mark. A long trey by Short cut the deficit to 43-36 and the Dragons finished the quarter down 45-38.
“We told them they were going to score. You’re not going to get it all back right away. Try to cut it to seven or eight to start the fourth quarter and then we’ll make our run in the fourth,” said Speed.
“We told them you just have to keep battling. You have to go get the ball. You have to attack the ball. And that’s one thing I thought we did really well: attack the ball,” said Speed.
The Dragons used defense to fuel the fourth quarter comeback, forcing seven turnovers and limiting the Panthers to 4-of-15 shooting.
A triple by Short got Fairland within 49-45 and a 3-poiner by Maddox at the 4:14 mark cut the lead to 50-48. Nathan Campbell came up with a steal and layup to tie the game with 3:24 to go and a foul shot by Luke Phillips at the 2:52 mark gave Fairland its first lead since the first quarter at 51-50.
A steal by Tyler Campbell gave the Dragons the ball and he came to the other end of the court and hit a 15-footer and the lead was 53-50 with 1:17 to play.
Maddox made a foul shot but Southeastern made it 54-52 on putback by Allen. A free throw by Tyler Campbell gave the Dragons a 55-52 lead. Hice made a foul shot but Nathan Campbell hit two free throws with 16 seconds left and the lead was 57-53.
Hice buried a long 3-pointer with seven seconds left and the Panthers were within 57-56.
Thayer Flynn was fouled on the inbounds and made the first of two shots for a 58-56 lead.
Allen rebounded the second shot and the Panthers got the ball down the court quickly. Justin Dye’s 3-pointer attempt from the right corner hit the front of the rim as the horn sounded and the Dragons had survived.
Southeastern 15 18 12 11 = 56
Fairland 14 5 19 20 = 58
SOUTHEASTERN (18-5): Austin Hice 4 1 6-8 17, Justin Dye 0 0 0-0 0, Dylan Miles 3 1 1-2 10, Tyler Cartee 4 1 6-6 17, Jordan Allen 4 0 0-0 8, Isaac Wheeler 0 0 0-0 0, Kannon Straughsbaugh 0 1 1-2 4, Isaiah Dresbach 0 0 -0 0. Totals: 19-48 14-18 56. 3-point goals: 4-11. Rebounds: 11-O, 20-D = 31 (Allen 13, Cartee 6, Hice 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 7 (Dye 4, Hice 2). Steals: 3. Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.
FAIRLAND (14-11): Chance Short 6 3 0-0 21, Luke Phillips 2 0 1-2 5, Nathan Campbell 3 0 2-2 8, Evan Maddox 1 2 1-2 9, Tyler Campbell 2 0 1-3 5, Thayer Flynn 3 0 2-4 8, Jacob Warner 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 26-51 7-13 58. 3-point goals: 5-13. Rebounds: 12-O, 15-D = 27 (N. Campbell 9, Phillips 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 1. Assists: 5 (Phillips 3). Steals: 9 (N. Campbell 3, Phillips 3). Turnovers: 7. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None.