By John Bombatch
FAIRBORN — Balanced scoring and the ability to find the hot hand enabled host Fairborn to claim a 57-45 win over Tipp City Tippecanoe on Friday at the Baker Middle School Fieldhouse.
The hot hand for Fairborn, at least in the early going, came from K.J. Redmon who drained a trio of first quarter 3-pointers to give the Skyhawks a 16-10 lead. Jacob Webb (six points in the second quarter), Branden Lilley and Shaunn Monroe (combined 15 points in the fourth) also got hot when Fairborn needed them. Coach Nate Chivington said it’s all part of his team’s growth.
“K.J. started us. When he was hot, we were trying to find ways to give him the ball. One of the things we continue to talk about is ‘Give the ball to the guy with the hot hand.’ … It can be somebody else in the very next game, but that’s who we’re going to get the ball to. We’ve grown into a team that’s not unselfish, that will find the hot shooter when we can get him open. … And then, we had guys knocking down free throws late in the game. That was huge and kinda put the game away for us,” Chivington said.
Tippecanoe closed out the first half with a 9-0 run that had the Red Devils down 26-22 at the break. They outscored Fairborn, 10-7, in the third quarter, and led the game 32-31 with two minutes left in the third. But Webb took a long-bomb pass from Lilley for a go-ahead layup from the left baseline just 30 seconds later, and the Skyhawks stayed out in front after that.
Then down the stretch, Lilley scored eight of his 10 points, and Monroe connected on 7 of 10 free-throw tries, all in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Webb finished with a team-high 13 points and Monroe finished with 12.
Aside from Zach Bonifas’ game-high 21-point effort, Tippecanoe coach Joel Visser didn’t have many positives to take away from Friday’s loss.
“We struggle a little bit to shoot the ball. It’s not all the time, though. The other night against Springboro, we shot the ball well and went out on a 13-2 run, knocked down some shots early, and then we kinda went to sleep (in a 69-45 loss). That’s kinda been us.” Visser said. “We’re certainly very capable of being a good team. … Until we show up and play strong — first, defensively; and then second, if we shoot the ball a little more consistently — we’re going to find ourselves in battles, just like we were in tonight.
“Despite our record — we’re 4-8 overall and 2-5 (in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s American North) — I like this team. It’s gotta lot of fight in it. We play again (today, at home against West Milton Milton-Union), and we’ll come back and fight hard.”
Fairborn (5-6, 5-2 GWOC American South) won’t have long to celebrate Friday’s victory. They return to action today, Jan. 14, in a 7:30 p.m. home contest with Springfield Shawnee. Get there early, as members of Fairborn’s 2016 Hall of Fame induction class will be recognized prior to the opening tip-off.
The 2016 Hall of Fame class consists of Ed McCloud (Class of 1964, Fairborn HS – Football/Baseball), Jackie (Smith) Whitaker (Class of 1981, Park Hills HS – Volleyball/Girls Basketball/Softball), Veasna Tith (Class of 1998, Fairborn HS – Boys Tennis), Fred J. Buschmeyer (Coach, Fairborn HS – Track & Field/Cross Country/Basketball) and the 1970 Boys Basketball District Championship team.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.