Overtime dry spell ends Fairborn’s season in sectional tournament


CENTERVILLE — Fairborn got in a final run to display the toughness it developed under first-year head coach Ricky Alstork.

It just didn’t have the ending the Skyhawks were seeking.

Overtime was not kind to Fairborn on Friday as its season ended in a 66-58 defeat to Belmont in its Division I sectional tournament opener at Centerville High School.

“When I watched film from last year, one thing I felt like we needed to improve upon was our fight and understanding there’s 32 minutes in a game,” Alstork said. “It can only take a few seconds to change a game and tonight we fought for that momentum.”

Fairborn, the No. 13 seed in the North portion of the Southwest District, needed every bit of grit it had to get back in the game and have a chance to win at the end of regulation. Belmont, which was seeded 12th, built a 12-point lead during the third quarter after trailing at halftime before the Skyhawks began its comeback attempt.

William Perry III closed the quarter with a three, and Fairborn quickly got back within four early in the fourth. Defense carried the team down the stretch as they held the Bison scoreless for over three minutes.

Fairborn tied the score at 48 with 3:14 left after getting a steal on a Belmont inbounds pass, and got over the hump when it forced another turnover that led to a layup in transition by Sean Townsend to put Fairborn in front with 1:19 to play.

Leading by three with 33 seconds left, Fairborn fouled Belmont’s Davion Porter, who led the Bison with 23 points, while he was attempting a shot to tie the game. Porter hit all three free throws to knot the score at 52.

Taiyou Williams had the final chance in regulation but his shot from just inside the arc came up short. J. T. Smith grabbed the rebound but his put back attempt was blocked.

“That’s where we need to execute better,” Alstork said. “Maybe do more situational stuff like that, but we got to execute better and just learn from it.”

Overtime mirrored the start of both the first and third quarters for Fairborn. The Skyhawks didn’t score for the first six minutes of the game, but still led after the opening quarter. Another prolonged drought to start the third let Belmont build its lead, but it was going the first 2:45 of the extra period that was too much for Fairborn to overcome.

“I thought we let our nerves kind of get to us in a few moments,” Alstork said. “Defensively though we kept them down and I think that’s a testament to our preparation. … We got some good looks, they just didn’t fall and we couldn’t climb back in it.”

Williams scored 23 to lead Fairborn and Sean Townsend had 12. Fellow senior Jadon Larson added eight as Fairborn completed its campaign with an 11-12 record.

It was a successful year for the Skyhawks program after combining for 13 total wins over the last four seasons. Alstork praised the examples set by his outgoing seniors both on and off the court.

“Take a guy like Gabe Donnelly who in the first half of the season didn’t play as much and became one of our first guys off the bench,” he said. “Every one in our program had a career year. We had a lot of new varsity guys and the good thing about that is that means a lot of them can come back.”

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

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