Xenia handles Fairborn in up and down game


XENIA — Once Xenia’s lead got into double digits during the first quarter in Wednesday’s home game, the Buccaneers never let it get below 10 the rest of the way in a 42-28 win against Fairborn.

Both halves brought positive takeaways Xenia and Fairborn could fall back on in the lopsided game.

Starting with the first half, Xenia came out with the focus that head coach Jessica Threats is seeking from her team game-by-game.

Tayler Elliott scored 10 points in the opening quarter while knocking down a pair of threes, and Nataiya Madison played with unmatched dominance in the paint as the Bucs scored 16 unanswered over an eight-minute stretch.

Xenia did not allow a basket after the opening minute of the game for the remainder of the half.

After the break, the Bucs got off to another strong start scoring eight quick points before going into a lull with its big lead. Only having two official shot attempts during the fourth quarter, Xenia shot 4 of 9 from the free throw line after missing all eight of its first half attempts.

Fairborn was able to claw closer and got its deficit down to 11 thanks to several unforced turnovers.

“It’s about keeping them engaged throughout the game and not losing sight of the end goal,” Threats said. “We just had our meeting to make our second half goals to make it better than the first half. We wanted to add stuff we’re trying to execute better on and I don’t think we really accomplished that as much tonight.”

Elliott finished with a game-high 17 points and Madison had 13 for Xenia, which is now 5-5 in MVL play and matches its best start in the league in three seasons.

Fairborn’s losing streak now has reached 60 straight games, including one forfeit, dating back to the 2020-21 season.

Wednesday seemed as if it may have been heading toward being a set back during what has been an improved season for the Skyhawks, despite the record, after the team only scoring six points during the first half.

The record this year sits at 0-12, but head coach Chelsea Nichols said she is still upbeat about seeing the progress her team has made from the first meeting against Xenia in game two of the season through Wednesday’s rematch.

Trailing by 22 and ending a 17-plus minute drought without a field goal, Brooklynn Kimball made three straight baskets and helped sparked a 9-0 run late in the third quarter that began to set the tone for how the remainder of the game played out.

Continuing into the fourth quarter, the run would have matched Xenia’s earlier stretch of 16 straight points scored if not for Alaiya Meaux’s three at the buzzer in the third. Even as Fairborn was unable to inch closer on the scoreboard, it continued to keep Xenia off balance on the offensive end and played well enough defensively to keep hopes of an unlikely comeback alive.

“We’re definitely making those strides and we’re learning that even when making mistakes, you got to keep your head up and just keep playing,” Nichols said. “We’re young and all of that takes time to learn, but I thought they really stepped up and we turned the switch up and were ready to fight back.

Kimball scored 12 points, Jayla Smalls had six and Jaida Mills had five.

The 14-point defeat was the closest margin of the season for Fairborn. Nichols said the team isn’t looking for moral wins, but knows recent results have ended with more positive mindsets and a growing belief her young group of freshman are getting more comfortable going against the experienced opponents faced each time they take the floor.

“The biggest thing I preach is effort,” she said. “Maybe a shot doesn’t fall, but you’ve got to still give it all because things will turn around. Maybe you don’t get the points you want, but you start getting assists, yo get rebounds and you stop the other girl from scoring. All important things that may or may not show up in the stat book, so letting them know they’re fine, keeping their heads up and keep things really positive because they need that.”

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on X (formerly Twitter) @Steven_Wright_.

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