Dragons go cold in loss to Mustangs

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 6, 2016

ATHENS — When the lights went out in the arena, they stayed out for the Fairland Dragons.

After taking a 12-point halftime lead, the Dragons’ were just 8-of-25 from the field in the second half as the Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs rallied for a 73-62 win in the Division III district finals on Saturday at the Ohio University Convocation Center.

“We didn’t shoot well. I think we let the pressure get to us. When they made their last run the crowd got into it and we rushed a few things. Defensively, we kind of stopped guarding and let them get to the rim too easy,” said Fairland coach Nathan Speed.

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“We kept saying slow down, we don’t need it all at once. I think we forced some shots and got away from what we do offensively.”

Fairland (20-5) came out hot and made 10-of-16 shots in the first quarter including a layup by Isaiah Howell and a shorts jumper by Kollin Van Horn to end the quarter and put the Dragons up 23-16.

A triple by Luke Thomas and a layup by Van Horn off a pass from Howell opened up a 30-20 at the 5:52 mark.

Christian Inman came off the bench to score 12 points including a layup with 1:55 left in the half as Lynchburg cut the spread to 33-32.

But Short and Hayden James both hit 3-pointers, Short sank two foul shots and then knocked down another triple with eight seconds on the clock and Fairland led 44-32 at the half.

Fairland had four turnovers to begin the second half and fuel a 9-0 run before baskets by Howell and Van Horn put the lead at 54-46 at the 2:49 mark.

A layup by Devin Pierson just before the end of the quarter cut Fairland’s lead to 56-52.

A 3-point play by Pierson with 4:05 left tied the game at 62. A power outage in Athens made the lights go out momentarily in the arena and caused the scoreboards to go blank with 3:38 on the clock.

Play resumed and River Mullins hit both ends of a one-and-one at the 3:04 mark to give Lynchburg its first lead of the game at 64-62.

Joe Giordano then buried an 18-footer and a putback basket by Pierson upped the lead to 68-62 with two minutes to play.

Fairland continued to misfire and the Mustangs went 4-for-4 at the foul line over the final 47 seconds to seal the district title.

Van Horn finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Short had 15 points — all in the first half — and Howell added 10 points.

Lynchburg (23-2) was led by Pierson with 23 points and Giordano with 21. Christian finished with 12.
Lynchburg will play the Chesapeake and Lucasville Valley winner at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday at Ohio University.

Lynchburg Clay 16 16 20 21 = 73
Fairland 23 21 12 6 = 62

LYNCHBURG CLAY (23-2): Zach Blankenship 1 0 2-4 4, Eric McLaughlin 2 1 2-2 7, River Mullins 2 0 2-2 6, Devin Pierson 8 0 7-8 23, Joe Giordano 8 3 2-5 21, Christian Inman 5 2 0-2 12. Totals: 26-55. 3-point goals: 6-14. Rebounds: 9, 25 = 34. Assists: 10. Seals: 5. Turnovers: 10. Blocks: 5 Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.

FAIRLAND (20-5): Kollin Van Horn 8 0 1-2 17, Gunner Short 5 3 2-4 15, Isaiah Howell 4 1 1-2 10, Luke Thomas 3 1 0-0 7, Ty Staten 2 0 2-4 6, Keedric Cunningham 2 0 0-0 4, Hayden James 0 1 0-0 3, Hunter Ashton 0 0 0-0 0. Totals 25-57. 3-point goals: 6-19. Rebounds: 9 25 = 34. Assists: 9. Steals: 6. Turnovers: 16. Blocks: 4. Fouls: 22. Fouled out:: Ty Staten