By John Bombatch
XENIA — Fairborn coach Bridgett Williams remembered how badly her team had been beaten on the boards when her Skyhawks first played Greater Western Ohio Conference South Division rival Xenia, and she didn’t want that to happen again.
Visiting Fairborn, sporting bright pink “Pink Out” uniforms to remind fans of Breast Cancer Awareness, out-rebounded Xenia 34-30, which created several second-chance points for Williams’ Skyhawks in Saturday’s 48-34 win in The Blue Pit at Xenia High School.
“They had 17 offensive rebounds against us the last time we played them (a 36-24 Xenia win on Jan. 25), and a lot of those led to second-chance points for them. That’s the result of plays where we didn’t hustle to get a rebound or we didn’t box out the way we should have, and it hurt us,” Williams said. “This time we did a fabulous job in hustling and working hard. I think that was a big difference, yeah.”
Where Fairborn (6-16, 3-7 GWOC South) could muster just four offensive rebounds in the January loss to the Buccaneers, they snared 11 offensive boards in Saturday’s win.
Balanced scoring was a Fairborn benefit as well. Courtney Mustard led all scorers with 14 points, Jana Brown-Griffith was next with 13 points, and Evelyn Oktavec finished with eight points scored. Mustard also led everybody in rebounding with 10, to record her first double-double of the season.
Seven pink Skyhawks scored in the game.
The loss spoiled Xenia’s Senior Night, inwhich Ahzjai Files, Breanna Burnette, Star Giles, Lizzie Abbott and Tarah Crawford were honored.
Ella Welsh and Trinity Morton led Xenia (5-17, 3-7 GWOC South) with nine points apiece, Cora Stevens scored seven points and Jada Wallace was next with five.
“Our game plan is always to try and make some of their other players, who maybe aren’t used to making shots, have to score, while we’d shut down their leading scorers,” Xenia coach Kyle Gray explained. “We found a team tonight where some of those other players were making shots, and that would affect what we would do defensively, and then their best players would hit their shots.
“We’re getting a ton of open shots, but they’re not falling through the hoop. That’s something we gotta work on — finishing those shots — as we look toward next season.”
Before next season rolls around, both teams have Division I sectional tournament games to play on Saturday in Troy.
Fairborn opens up against neighboring Beavercreek for an 11 a.m. first-round matchup at Troy High School.
Xenia has a 2 p.m. contest at Troy High against New Carlisle Tecumseh.