FAIRBORN — A quick scoring burst to start the fourth quarter was just enough of a momentum shift for the Fairborn Skyhawks to claim a 47-40 girls high school basketball win, Jan. 17, over visiting Sidney on the Baker Middle School gym floor.
Clinging to a 32-28 lead to start the final quarter, Fairborn’s Jodee Austin missed a shot, grabbed the rebound, missed again and was fouled hard while going for the ball by Sidney’s Carrie Nuss barely 30 seconds into the fourth. Nuss was called for the foul and was whistled with a technical foul on the play, and fouled out of the game as a result.
Austin hit one of two free throw tries for the foul, then Evelyn Oktavec drained both of her tries as a result of the technical to put the Skyhawks out in front 35-28.
Chloe Johnson then made it a nine-point lead on Fairborn’s ensuing possession with a score from inside to give the Skyhawks (5-9, 4-4 GWOC American South) the only nine-point cushion by either team.
“Sidney came to play. They played hard. I didn’t think our defense was where it needed to be, but we got that nine-point lead and I think that turned the tables for us. Momentum started coming in our favor,” Fairborn coach Billy Harchick said.
The pesky Yellow Jackets (2-12, 2-6 Greater Western Ohio Conference, American North) narrowed the lead down to three points with 19.1 seconds left on a Carly Dean free throw, but Fairborn’s Khala Powell iced the win by hitting a pair of free throws with 16.7 ticks left. She then stole the inbounds pass and scored to give the ‘Hawks the final 47-40 margin.
Dean finished with 12 points for Sidney, while Alina Kindle led the Yellow Jackets with a 15-point night.
Powell scored eight of her 10 points in the final quarter, and was a big help when the team’s leading scorer — Oktavec — fouled out of the contest with 1:55 left to play. Powell was the only Fairborn player to score from that point in the game on.
“She was battling either a back injury or a neck injury after a charge that she took earlier in the game, so we kinda rotated her out and in to make sure she was okay,” Harchick explained. “Losing Evelyn down the stretch was tough, but we had other players step up. We were due for a team effort and got one tonight.
“Hopefully, we can build on this win.”
Harchick liked Johnson’s rebounding play and said Cassidy Mustard and Ashley Dagnan both came in and played strong in key situations for Fairborn. “That’s what we needed to come out of here with a victory,” he said.
Oktavec finished with a game-high 23 points, well above her team leading 15 point average. Powell was above her 8.5 points-per-game average, finishing with her 10, while Mustard, Dagnan, Austin and Johnson combined for 14 points.
Fairborn is back in action at 12:30 p.m. Saturday when they will play at Piqua. Sidney also will play next on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets will be at Stebbins for an 11:30 a.m. game.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.