XENIA — Visiting Fairborn got a 14-point lead over Xenia with 3:49 left to play in Wednesday’s Dec. 20 girls high school basketball game, then the Skyhawks seemed to let up with their intensity for a bit, and Xenia almost made them pay.
Fairborn was limited to a pair of Evelyn Oktavec free throws the rest of the way, while Xenia scored 10 points to make things a lot closer. The Skyhawks survived the late-game rally, however, to claim a 44-36 win.
Skyhawks coach Billy Harchick came away impressed with the play of Xenia’s scoring leader, Trinity Morton-Nooks.
“Trinity had a really good game. I think she had 28 of their 36 points, she was hard to stop today,” Harchick said. “I felt like our defense wasn’t where it needed to be, but we knew Xenia was going to play us tough. They showed up tonight.”
For winning Fairborn (3-6, 3-1 Greater Western Ohio Conference, American South), Oktavec and senior forward Chloe Johnson each finished with a team-high 14 points. Khala Powell had seven first-half points, Jodee Austin scored five points and Cassidy Mustard rounded out the scoring with four.
Xenia (2-7, 1-3 GWOC South) trailed by a 40-26 score when Fairborn’s Johnson scored with 3:49 remaining, but three Morton-Nooks buckets, a steal and score by Alexis Claybaugh and another score from the right corner by Helen James pulled the Buccaneers within six points, 42-36, with 33.5 seconds left in the contest.
Fairborn’s Oktavec hit two free throws with 11.5 seconds remaining to clinch the win.
“It always feels good to get a win on the road in somebody else’s place, but I still feel like we can play a bit better,” Harchick added.
Fairborn’s next game is against Harchick’s friend Brian Hill and the Bay Village Bay Rockets from the Cleveland area. Bay is down in the Dayton area for a Friday game with Chaminade Julienne. They’ll then take on Fairborn at 11:30 a.m. Saturday Dec. 23 at Baker Middle School.
In the loss, first-year coach Jamie Hand was proud of how his team played. Down by double digits late in the contest, his Bucs never wavered.
“Fairborn is well-coached, but I thought we played a great basketball game. We just ran out of time at the end,” Hand said. “But we fought all the way to the very end. I could not be more proud of the way our girls played. That was a good game for us.”
Hand credited his lone senior, Adri Winston, with solid play and late-game hustle in the loss. Morton-Nooks nearly doubled her season scoring average of 14.1 points by scoring 28. She hit 12 shots from the floor and converted four of six free-throw tries. Claybaugh, Alashia Adams and James combined for the team’s other eight points.
The Buccaneers don’t play another game until next year. Xenia will host Tippecanoe at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3, 2018 in the XHS gymnasium.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.