FAIRBORN — Xenia recorded its first road win of the season, on its next-to-last game of the regular season, Friday Feb. 14, with a 56-52 win over Fairborn at the Baker Memorial Gymnasium.
It might not have been the prettiest of wins, but Buccaneers coach Kent Anderson says he’ll take it.
“Too many turnovers late. We got the lead to about 10-12 points, and let them back in it with three straight turnovers inside of a minute,” he explained. “It’s probably good that this happened to us now, right before the tournament. We can use this as a teaching moment and continue on.
“I thought Dylan (Hoosier) did a nice job of finding Zack (Gaither) and Gavin (Gerhardt) and others for some inside points, and we got to the free-throw line a good bit tonight, too, that’s what we wanted to do.”
Gaither led the Bucs with 14 points scored, and Gerhardt finished with 11. Hoosier and Isaiah Hoyt both finished with eight points, as Xenia won its second game over Fairborn this season and first on the road. Xenia converted 17 of 219 free-throw attempts.
Xenia had been 0-9 in road games before Friday’s win.
The game had been a close affair at 19-16 when Xenia took advantage of a foul and technical foul at the 2:38 mark. Gerhardt was fouled and hit the first of two free throws. Hoosier then hit both of his technical foul tries to extend Xenia’s lead to 22-26. Scores by Gaither and Cameron McFarland on Xenia’s next two possessions gave the Bucs a 26-16 lead at the break.
Fairborn trailed by a dozen (52-4o) with 2:21 left to play, but Tyren Schultz scored was fouled and hit his free throw to pull the Skyhawks within nine points. Dwight Lewis then scored to pull Fairborn within seven on the Skyhawks’ next possession.
Xenia’s Kevin Johnson hit the front end of a double-bonus free throw session, then Fairborn’s Patrick Parrish closed things out with a 7-1 run to make things interesting.
“Those first three, three and a half quarters, we played pretty solid. Then that last minute and a half? We just had to hang on.” Anderson said.
Blake Huffman led Fairborn with a game-best 15-point night, Lewis was next with 10, and Parrish scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter.
“We started off slow, and just couldn’t get any shots to fall in that first half,” Fairborn coach Billy Harchick said. “But they did try to fight back. … It’s a learning curve for these kids. … Towards the end, the kids off the bench gave us some energy that we needed. Patrick (Parrish) has always been a good defensive player for us, and we wanted him to be more of an offensive threat. I definitely thought that he did a great job with his playing minutes tonight for us.”
Fairborn closes out the regular season schedule with a 1-21 overall record, 1-17 in Miami Valley League play. The Skyhawks, seeded 21st in the Division I sectional tourney, have 1o days to prepare themselves to face either New Carlisle Tecumseh or Centerville at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25. If the opponent is Centerville, the game will be played at Vandalia Butler High’s Student Activities Center; if Tecumseh is the opponent, the game will be held at Centerville High.
Xenia (5-16, 4-14 MVL) has a nonleague game to play Saturday night Feb. 15 at Bellefontaine. The Bucs will go for a second straight road win at 7:30 p.m. on the Chieftains’ floor.
Xenia is the No. 17 seed in the D-I sectional. They also have a first-round bye, and will face either no. 6 seed Springfield or No. 15 Vandalia Butler for their first game on Feb. 26. If the opponent is Springfield, the Bucs will play at 6 p.m. likely at Butler High, in Vandalia. If Butler is the opponent, the game will likely be played at Centerville.