XENIA — With the league’s leading scorer sitting on the bench in a warm-up suit, the team’s third-leading scorer in a warm-up suit next to him, and the team’s coach feeling as if he’d been hit by a Mack truck, the Xenia High boys basketball team was hurting from the opening tip-off.
Despite a spirited effort from the rest of the Buccaneers squad, visiting Fairborn was simply no match for Xenia on this night. Shaunn Monroe, the league’s fourth leading scorer, knocked down a healthy 28 points to lead all scorers and Fairborn claimed a strong 61-43 win on Saturday night, Feb. 3 over Xenia.
Despite playing shorthanded, Xenia stayed within two points of Fairborn after one quarter of play. It wasn’t until the Skyhawks went on a 13-4 run in the final five minutes of the first half that Fairborn assumed control of the game.
“We finally started getting looks that we wanted to, and we just weren’t hitting shots earlier. We tell guys to play the next possession. You’ve gotta be mentally tough out there, and when the shot is there you take it. Even if you missed the last shot, you’ve gotta move on to the next one,” Fairborn coach Nathan Chivington explained.
Aside from Monroe’s 28, O.J. Person scored 10 points — He and Monroe each had a game-best six rebounds as well — and Joe Nickel finished with eight points for Fairborn (6-12, 5-6 Greater Western Ohio Conference, American South).
Person figuratively shot the lights out with 5:33 left to play in the contest. The Fairborn junior forward launched a 3-pointer that swished through the netting as all of the gymnasium lights went out. Seconds later, power was restored and play continued with the Skyhawks out in front 51-35 at the time.
Buccaneers assistants Jason Caudill and Shawn Thigpen did most all of the coaching from the Xenia bench, as head coach Kent Anderson was weakened with what he guessed may have been late-afternoon flu symptoms.
“We just missed too many inside shots, and we didn’t defend or rebound very well,” Anderson said, still sounding groggy after the game. “Others had a chance to step up tonight, but we just didn’t get it done.”
Meechi Harris should miss another week while he rehabs an ankle injury. Anderson said the team learned on Feb. 2 that Samari Curtis had been diagnosed with post-concussion symptoms as the result of a tough non-league game the previous week at Bellbrook. Anderson said Curtis could be back in the Bucs’ lineup for Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 road contest at Piqua High.
Jay Evans led the Buccaneers (10-8, 6-4 GWOC American South) with 13 points, and teammate Norde’ Uloho also got into double figures with 12 points. The rest of the starting lineup for Xenia scored two points. Johnzel Gray, Dylan Hoosier and R.J. Hunter combined for 13 points off the bench in Saturday’s loss.
The game didn’t change the team’s positions in the GWOC’s American South division. Xenia is four games behind leader Trotwood-Madison with four games left to play in the regular season; Fairborn remains third, a game and a half behind Xenia.
The Skyhawks’ next contest isn’t until 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9 when they’ll play at West Carrollton.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.