By Scott Halasz
FAIRBORN — It’s an overused cliche but it’s accurate: It was a tale of two halves for the Fairborn boys basketball team on Saturday in a 45-39 loss to Oakwood at Baker Middle School.
After jumping out in front early and building a 28-16 halftime lead, the Skyhawks inexplicably started missing shots and free throws. Fairborn scored just 11 second-half points and only three in the fourth quarter. After making five of six from the line in the first half the Skyhawks (4-5) made just one of six in the final 16 minutes.
“We’ve done this to ourselves multiple times,” Coach Nathan Chivington said. “We’ve just got to put four quarters together.”
Jordan Pumroy led Fairborn with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Aron Childers added nine points. But nobody really shot the ball particularly well. As a team, the Skyhawks made just 13 of 52 shots and only seven of 33 3-pointers. All but two 3-pointers came in the first half.
“Shot selection kind of affected us,” Chivington said. “We just weren’t making good decisions. We’ve got to be able to play next possession. We didn’t stay focused. (And) we missed key free throws down the stretch.”
Credit Oakwood which overcame a dismal shooting night from the free throw line (three of 11) and pounded the ball inside in the second half while cutting down on 12 first-half turnovers. Oakwood’s Alex Neff led all scorers with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Michael Hoecht added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Down 30-16 after a Ryan Profitt bucket early in the third quarter, Oakwood (6-3) scored eight straight points — four from Hoecht and two from Neff — to cut it to 30-24 with 3:36 left. Fairborn answered with a 6-3 mini-run to end the quarter, highlighted by a Pumroy 3-pointer with 44 seconds left.
Oakwood scored nine straight to open the fourth, tying it at 36-all with 3:21 left. Pumroy hit a 3-pointer with 3:06 left, but a Neff bucket and a Connor Dinkler 3-pointer gave Oakwood its first lead — a lead it would not lose.
Fairborn led 16-8 after the first quarter using the fast-break to its advantage. Childers, Profitt and Branden Lilley each hit second quarter 3-pointers to help the Skyhawks to a comfortable halftime lead.
“(Oakwood) did a much better job taking care of the basketball and forced us to slow the game down,” Chivington said.
Fairborn is at Greenville tonight and hosts West Carrollton Friday and Valley View Saturday. These three game represent roughly the mid-way point.
“We’re still not playing our best basketball,” Chivington said. “Hopefully it comes at the right time.”