Dragons finally beat Pointers to earn trip to regionals

Published 1:30 am Saturday, March 5, 2022

Fairland Dragons’ Chase Allen goes in for a layup while South Point Pointers’ Caleb Schneider (right) goes for the block during the Division 3 district championship game on Friday. Fairland won 53-45. (Photo by Tim Gearhart)


South Point Pointers’ Mason Kazee (10) gets off a shot surrounded by Fairland defenders. Kazee had 11 points but the Dragons won 53-45 to claim their third straight district title. (Josh Wilson Photography/facebook)

Jim Walker


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WAVERLY — The third time was not only a charm, the result was quite charming.

After losing both regular season games against the South Point Pointers, the Fairland Dragons made the third time count for even more as they got a 53-45 win to capture the Division 3 district championship on Friday.

“The first two times we played them, we got out to a slow start and they got some momentum. I think the last game we played them we were down 15 at the half,” said Fairland coach Nathan Speed.

“So, we focus on coming out and getting stops defensively. Tonight, I felt like we played well for four quarters. This is one of the best jobs we did defensively all year.”

The Dragons (20-5) will face Columbus Africentric (22-5) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the regional semifinals at the Ohio University Convocation Center. Africentric edged Columbus Bishop Ready 56-53.

This marks the third straight regional appearance for the Dragons who returned only Aiden Porter as a starter from last season.

“Coming in with a young team and only one proven leader (Porter) with minutes and being intros position before, you never would expect to be in this place, but the kids just kept getting better, getting better and play hard. The fight, the scrap, they do whatever it takes to win,” said Speed.

J.D. Thacker had 15 points and Chase Allen 10 to lead a balance Fairland offense. Aiden Porter added 9 points and the Dragons used some clutch foul shooting in the fourth quarter to thwart a Pointers’ comeback bid.

“I felt he’s done a good job offensively the last two times we’ve played them,” Speed said of Thacker. “He was attacking the rim and opening things up for us. He has some big rebounds for us down the stretch.”

South Point (17-9) was led by Malik Pegram with 14 points. Mason Kazee had 11 points and 6 rebounds, Caleb Schneider got 11 points and Jake Addams grabbed 5 rebounds.

South Point got a layup by Pegram off a pass from Xander Dornon and a layup by Jordan Ermalovich to lead 4-0. It proved to be the Pointers’ only lead of the game.

Kazee hit a 15-footer to tie the game at 6-all and the Dragons went on a 12-0 run that spilled over into the second quarter.

A 3-point play by Allen to begin the second quarter put the Dragons up 20-6 before Schneider’s 3-pointer ended the run.

Back-to-back baskets by Ermalovich cut the deficit to 24-15 only to have Porter sink two foul shots and Thacker got a layup with 42 seconds left in the half to make it 28-15.

A 10-footer by Schneider and a 3-point play by Kazee to begin the second half closed the gap to 28-20.

South Point got within 35-28 and a 3-pointer by Schneider make it 35-29. A layup by Brycen Hunt put the Dragons ahead 37-28 to end the quarter.

Fairland used a 3-point play by Hunt to start the fourth quarter to lead 40-29 and a layup by Brody Buchanan had the lead at 44-33.

Schneider and Ermalovich hit back-to back triples and it was 44-39. But the Pointers couldn’t hit shots and the Dragons converted 10-of-14 free throws in the quarter to seal the outcome and earn another trip to Athens.

South Point 6 9 14 16 = 45

Fairland   15 13 9 16 = 53

SOUTH POINT (17-9): Caleb Schneider 1 3 0-0 11,Jake Adams 0 0 0-0 0, Mason Kazee 3 0 5-6 11, Malik Pegram 4 0 6-6 14, Jordan Ermalovich 3 1 0-0 9, Xander Dornon 0 0 0-0 0, Josh Childers 0 0 0-0 0, Keshaun Bailey 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-48 11-12 45. 3-pt goals: 4-24. Rebounds: 9-O, 16-D = 25 (Kazee 6, Adams 5). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 22. Fouled out: Schneider (4th 3:52), Ermalovich (4th 3:45).

FAIRLAND (20-5): Will Davis 1 1 2-2 7, Aiden Porter 2 1 2-2 9, J.D. Thacker 4 1 4-6 15, Chase Allen 1 1 5-5 10, Steeler Leep 0 0 0-0 0, Zion Martin 0 0 0-0 0, Brycen Hunt 2 0 2-3 6, Brody Buchanan 2 0 2-5 6. Totals: 16-35 17-23 53. 3-pt goals: 4-11. Rebounds: 3-O, 25-D = 28 (Porter 4, Allen 4, Hunt 4). Turnovers: 14. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.