Lady Dragons head to Division 2 Final Four

Published 11:07 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

Fairland Lady Dragons Bree Allen eyes the basket as she scores against a Granville Lady Blue Aces defender during Friday’s Division 2 regional championship. Fairland won 41-25 and will play in the Final Four on Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of Katie Keeney)


Fairland Lady Dragon’s Addison Godby (3) is fouled as she puts up a shot during Friday’s Division 2 regional championship game against the Granville Lady Blue Aces. (Photo courtesy of Katie Keeney)


Fairland Lady Dragons’ head coach Jon Buchanan appears to be a little upset at a call during Friday’s Division 2 regional championship game. Fairland beat Granville 41-25 to earn a berth in the Final Four on Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of Katie Keeney)


The Fairland Lady Dragons proudly display their Division 2 regional championship trophy after beating Granville 41-25 to earn a berth in the Final Four on Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of Katie Keeney)

By Jim Walker

ZANESVILLE — The Road to Dayton just took its final turn.

The Fairland Lady Dragons quest to reach the Division 2 state tournament were realized on Friday as they beat the Granville Lady Blue Aces 41-25 to punch their ticket to the Final Four.

“We didn’t have as many scoring opportunities, but we were able to take advantage of enough of the shots we had. And we played good defense on them,” said Fairland coach Jon Buchanan.

Fairland came within an eyelash last season of going to the state tournament but that was in Division 3. This season, the Lady Dragons moved up a division but Buchanan said it was never an issue.

“We never talked about moving up a division. We knew we had a really good team and it didn’t matter what division we were in,” said Buchanan.

The No. 2-ranked Lady Dragons (27-0) will play Canal Fulton Northwest (26-2) at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at the University of Dayton Arena in the state semi-finals.

Northwest beat Canfield 51-29.

In the other D2 regional finals, Bryan (25-2) topped Norwalk 58-45 and Purcell-Marian (25-2) stopped Hamilton Badin 64-54.

The championship game will be at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 11.

This marks Fairland’s third trip to the Final Four. The previous two trips were 2014 and 2015.

“Granville was very good defensively. They were extremely good defensively,” said Buchanan. “They were a really good rebounding team, too. They did a good job limiting you to one shot.”

Reece and Kamryn Barnitz hit 3-pointers and Bree Allen scored as Fairland went on an 8-0 run to start the game.

Harper Annarino scored for the Blue Aces but Addison Godby had a basket and free thrown to give the Lady Dragons an 11-2 lead after the first quarter.

Ella Schneider and Taylor Warehime sandwiched baskets around Godby’s bucket and Granville trailed just 13-6.

Fairland’s Tomi Hinkle and Granville’s Ava Gossman traded 3-pointers to make it 16-9 but Bree Allen scored points to give Fairland a 20-9 halftime lead.

Fairland outscored Granville 13-6 coming out of the locker room to build a 29-15 lead and the teams traded baskets to end the quarter with the Lady Dragons lead 31-17.

Russell scored and Allen hit a foul shot and it was 34-17 to open the fourth quarter.

Trailing 34-22, Granville began to foul and the Lady Dragons converted 5-of-6 free throw attempts  as Allen went 3-of-4 and Kamryn Barnitz was 2-of-2 at the foul line to seal the win.

Kamryn Barnitz led the balanced Lady Dragons with 10 points. Allen and Russell had 9 each.

Granville (25-3) was led by Gossman with 9 and Annarino added 7.

Granville    2 7 8 8 = 25

Fairland   11 9 11 10 = 41

GRANVILLE (25-3): Delaney Varrasso 0 0 0-0 0, Ella Schneider 1 0 0-0 2, Taylor Warehime 1 1 0-0 5, Katie Cottrell 0 0 0-0 0, Aliyah Moore 0 1 0-0 3, Ava Gossman 1 2 0-2 8, Haley Strasser 0 0 0-0 0, Harper Annarino 1 1 2-2 7. Totals: 4 5 2-4 25. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.

FAIRLAND (27-0): Isa Taliaferro 0 0 0-0 0, Addison Godby 3 0 1-1 7, Reece Barnitz 0 1 0-0 3, Bree Allen 3 0 3-4. 9, Tomi Hinkle 0 1 0-1 3, Kamryn Barnitz 1 2 2-2 10, Bailey Russell 4 0 1-1 9, Kylee Bruce 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 4 7-9 41. Rebounds: 26 (Hinkle 6, Russell 5, Allen 4). Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.