Lady Dragons use early big lead to reach regional finals

Published 7:52 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Fairland Lady Dragons’ guard Tomi Hinkle spits two Fort Frye defenders as she gets to the basket. Hinkle had 18 points in a 43-38 regional semifinal win on Wednesday. (Photo by Tim Gearhart)


Fairland Lady Dragons’ Kylee Bruce (44) goes in for an easy layup against Fort Frye in the Division 3 regoinal semifinals on Wednesday. Fairland won and plays Belmont Union Local at 1 p.m. Saturday in Logan. (Photo by Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker

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LOGAN — It was the biggest eight minutes of the season for the Fairland Lady Dragons.

Fairland used the first quarter to build a big lead and nursed it the rest of the game as the Lady Dragons beat the Fort Frye Lady Cadets 43-38 in the Division 3 regional semifinals on Wednesday.

Fairland came out sizzling in the first quarter against a stunned Fort Frye as the Lady Dragons scored 12 unanswered points to start the game.

The Lady Dragons made four straight 3-pointers as Tomi Hinkle got the offense started with three straight triples and Bree Allen had a trey for a 12-0 lead at the 2:54 mark.

Kianna O’Brien went 1-for-2 at the foul line as Fort Frye finally scored but Hinkle’s driving layup and Kylee Bruce’s foul shot pushed the lead to 15-1.

Fort Frye outscored Fairland in each of the final three quarters but the 14-point deficit was too much to overcome against the Lady Dragons’ defense.

Hannah Archer sank two free throws to start the second quarter for the Lady Cadets but Kamryn Barnitz had a layup and Hinkle drained a long 3-pointer as the lead ballooned to 20-3.

Emmie Duskey and Archer hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Fort Frye’s first field goals of the game and it was 20-9.

Allen hit a jumper but a layup by MacKenzie Dalton cut the deficit to 22-11 at the half.

The Lady Dragons hit 5-of-12 from behind the arc in the half and 8-of-20 overall. Fort Frye was just 3-of-12 from the field and 2-of-4 on 3-pointers.

Khloe Ross converted a 3-point play to start the second half for Fort Frye but Kylee Bruce answered for Fairland and it was 24-14.

Kianna O’Brien had a 3-pointer and Archer hit a baseline shot as the Lady Cadets creeped to within 24-19.

Reece Barnitz had a layup and Bruce a foul shot as the lead went to 27-19 But a 3-pointer and free throw by Dalton sandwiched around two foul shots by Hinkle left Fairland up 31-25 at the end of the quarter.

Duskey and Allen traded triples to begin the fourth quarter but then Dalton had a trifecta and Gwyn Rauch a layup to cut the deficit to just 37-34.

Two free throws by Bruce and a layup by Kamryn Barnitz pushed the lead to 41-33 with three minutes to go only to have a layup by Dalton a minute later make it 41-35.

But a layup by Bruce with 43 seconds to play virtually sealed the outcome and Dalton hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to set the final score.

Hinkle had a big game to carry the Lady Dragons as she scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Bruce had 8 points and 9 rebounds and Allen 8 points and 7 boards.

Dalton scored 16 and had 7 rebounds for Fort Frye (21-5) while Archer had 5 rebounds but was held to 10 points below her average with 7 points thanks to the relentless defense of Kamryn Barnitz.

Fairland (25-2) will play at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the regional finals Belmont Union Local who beat previously unbeaten Wheelersburg 56-45.

Fort Frye 1 10 14 13 = 38

Fairland 15 7 12 9 = 43

FORT FRYE (21-5): Emmie Duskey 0 2 0-0 6, Hannah Archer 1 1 2-2 7, Kianna O’Brien 0 1 1-2 4, MacKenzie Dalton 3 3 1-3 16, Gwyn Rauch 1 0 0-0 2, Khloe Ross 1 0 1-1 3. Totals: 13-39 5-8 38. 3-pt goals: 7-16. Rebounds: 24 (Dalton 7, Archer 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.

FAIRLAND (25-2): Reece Barnitz 2 0 0-0 4, Bree Allen 1 2 0-0 8, Tomi Hinkle 1 4 4-5 18, Kamryn Barnitz 1 1 0-1 5, Kylee Bruce 2 0 4-6 8, Kaylee Salyer 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-39 8-12 43. 3-pt goals: 7-20. Rebounds: 34 (Bruce 9, Hinkle 9, Allen 7, R. Barnitz 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 10. Fouled out: None.