By John Bombatch
FAIRBORN — In a battle for first place in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s South Division, in front of the rowdiest student section around, Springboro needed a late fourth-quarter surge to rally to a 66-60 win over Fairborn at the Skyhawks’ loud Memorial Fieldhouse.
Consecutive scores by Fairborn’s Jordan Pumroy and Aron Childers gave the Skyhawks a 48-45 lead with just over six minutes left to play in Friday night’s contest.Seconds later, Springboro’s 6-foot-3 senior forward Elijah Cunningham fouled out of the game. Springboro coach Michael Holweger called a quick timeout, and the next thing you know, the Panthers reeled off the biggest scoring spree of the game — a 12-0 run that began 30 seconds after Cunningham sat down, and ended with 1:07 left to play — that put Springboro back in control of the game, leading 57-50.
The two teams traded scores, then Fairborn’s Childers drained a three-pointer from the left wing with 0.2 seconds left for the final margin.
“We have a lot of depth, and I think that kind of versatility really helped us tonight,” coach Mike Holweger said. “We shifted our defense to a Box-and-One at that point as well, and I think that helped as well. One thing you know coming in here is that it’s going to get loud. Fairborn has an unbelievable student section, and their pep band is terrific. The whole atmosphere in this fieldhouse is what this game is all about. It’s a great environment.
“And I really like Nathan (Chivington)’s team. Hard-nosed and competitive from start to finish, and Aron Childers always seems to have a great game against us. Our scouting report says that he is ‘very underrated.’ … They are a bunch of winners, and I’m sure their community is proud of them. I’ve got a bunch of winners in my locker room, too.”
Pumroy finished with a team-high 18 points, Childers tossed in 15, Ryan Profitt was solid inside with 13 points for Fairborn (7-6. 3-1 GWOC South).
Chivington said having a couple key players in foul trouble late in Friday’s game didn’t help matters for his Skyhawks, either. Childers was playing with four fouls for much of the second half, and Pumroy had three fouls.
“Springboro was unconscious from the free-throw line (24-of-28). When you either score or get to the free-throw line and shoot your shots like that, good things are going to happen for you,” Chivington said. “I thought both teams battled well tonight, but they might’ve had a little bit better shooting night than we did.”
Nick Pluta was among the Panthers scoring leaders with a 19-point game, but he was limited to just six points in the second half. Drew Holweger had been held to eight first-half points, but scored 14 in the second half to finish with a game-high 22 points. Alec Holtrey, son of long-time Springboro coach and administrator Troy Holtrey, finished with nine.
“This was just two really good teams going at it tonight. I have a lot of respect for Nathan and his program,” Mike Holweger said. “Anytime you can escape this gym with a win, it’s a good win. And we had to beat a good team to get it.”
Springboro (10-2, 4-0 GWOC South) next will play Mountain Mission School out of Grundy, Va. in the Flyin’ to the Hoop basketball showcase, at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
Fairborn plays on the road at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday against Centerville.