Springfield led 18-17 at the half, but the third quarter belonged to Fairmont. The Firebirds outscored the Wildcats 16-8 and led by nine points until Tolliver hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Wildcats turned up the pressure in the fourth quarter. Sixth man Johnson scored 10 straight points for Springfield, including back-to-back 3-pointers, to tie the score at 41 with about three minutes remaining. The junior has scored double-digits in six straight games.
Springfield High School guard Micha Johnson drives past Fairmont's Ryan Soter during their game on Tuesday night at Trent Arena. Johnson scored 14 points as the Wildcats won 46-44. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED
Credit: Michael Cooper
Credit: Michael Cooper
“We’ve had discussions about putting him in the starting lineup, but he gets so engaged at the start of the game that he’s been in the best sixth man I’ve ever coached,” McCullough said. “He’s bringing the energy.”
Senior Ryan Soter hit two free throws to give the Firebirds a two-point lead, but Springfield’s Tyron Barnes hit two free throws to tie the score at 43.
On its next possession, Barnes went back to the free throw line, hitting one of two to give Springfield the lead for good.
With nine seconds remaining, Tolliver made a layup on a full-court inbounds pass to give Springfield a 46-43 lead. On the ensuing Fairmont possession, Springfield was called for a technical foul for touching the inbounds passer.
Fairmont’s Anthony Johnson hit one of two free throws to bring them within two points. On the inbounds play, Malachi Parker’s deep three-pointer missed as time expired, sealing Springfield’s victory.
Springfield started the season 1-3, but upset state-ranked Miamisburg (No. 10) 69-66 last week on a last-second 3-pointer by junior Eddie Muhammed. Last Friday, the Wildcats won at Northmont, then lost to Thomas Worthington team on the road. The game against Fairmont was their fourth road game in seven days.
“We’re happy to finish that stretch 3-1,” McCullough said. “They’re starting to understand my system.”
The Wildcats were scheduled to play Centerville on Friday, but the varsity game has been postponed. Springfield isn’t scheduled to play again until Friday, Jan. 22 when it hosts Beavercreek.
“We get some time to get some skill work the next few days,” McCullough said. “I’m not going to give them any days off.”