Why not Fairmont?
Anyone who doubts the Firebirds have the ingredients to make another extended postseason stroll needs to rethink their wardrobe. Fairmont is ready for a run.
Led by seniors Ryan Hall and Kellan Bochenek, the Firebirds blitzed Xenia 80-68 Friday at Trent Arena in a key Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game.
»RELATED: Friday’s high school roundup
»RELATED: Friday’s high school scoreboard
Hall scored a game-high 22 points and Bochenek added 17 as the Firebirds (13-5) scored 50 first-half points, hit 10 three-pointers (nine in the first half), had five players reach double-figures and held Xenia standout and Cincinnati recruit Samari Curtis to a season-low 19 points.
The Buccaneers fell to 10-8.
“We’ve said all year that things begin and end with (Hall and Bochenek), but how we play in between is really going to dictate how good we become,” Fairmont coach Blair Albright said. “Tonight we got great contributions from a bunch of numbers. That’s the type of stuff we need more consistently to reach our potential.”
Hall and Bochenek were expected to perform. They did from the tip.
Scoring 10 points, Hall led the hosts to a 24-13 lead after one quarter.
Bochenek hit three 3s and netted 11 points in the second quarter as the Firebirds built a 50-35 halftime advantage.
Both seniors had 14 points at intermission.
The two combined for all 10 of Fairmont’s third quarter points.
“They’re both experienced, but the great thing about them is that they are the hardest working kids and the highest character kids we have,” Albright said. “When you’re best two guys lead like that you have a chance to be good – especially when they are backcourt guys.”
Others answered the bell for Fairmont too. Particularly 6-foot-6 senior Dashawn Brown. Averaging 3.4 points per game, Brown scored 13, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Senior Jesse Reliford and junior Andre O’Daniel added 14 and 11 points, respectively, for Fairmont, which reached the Division I district finals for the first time since 2010 last season before losing to eventual state champion Moeller.
“I don’t know what it is about us, but we bring out the best in Fairmont,” Xenia head coach Kent Anderson said. “They got us twice last year and until the second half tonight we just didn’t have the toughness we needed. When you play a team from the east side of the GWOC you have to come to play.”
Down 16 in the third quarter, Xenia continued to claw. The Buccaneers cut the deficit to six points twice in the fourth quarter.
Xenia had four players reach double-figures, including sophomores Dylan Hoosier (14 points) and Zack Gaither (11) and senior Noah Crawford (10).
Curtis fouled out with 2:46 left.
“They did a whale of a job on him tonight,” Anderson said. “It just wasn’t his night. It just wasn’t our night.”
The 19-point performance was Curtis’ lowest output since a 19-point performance in last year’s D-I sectional loss to – Fairmont.
“You’re not going to guard that kid without a great team effort,” Albright said. “It takes a whole team to slow him a little bit.”
Fairmont and Xenia both expect to contend in the postseason. Sectional seeding will be decided next Sunday.
“We want to get on a little run like we did last year,” Hall said. “We want to get back to districts.”
Added Bochenek: “That’s the goal.”
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