Held scoreless in his previous game and having missed practice because of illness, Fairmont junior Jack Hendricks was looking for anything to snap out of that funk.
He got it when he bottomed his first shot Friday night against visiting Xenia. Then another and another. Twenty-nine points later, the hard-charging guard with the no-quit motor was brimming with confidence.
“This means a lot,” assured Hendricks following an unlikely 66-43 boys high school basketball blowout of the Buccaneers in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game that doesn’t count in divisional play.
“When I started off 2 for 2 and then 3 for 3 I felt like I needed to shoot the ball and put up as many shots as I could because I felt like it was going to be a special night.”
Fairmont (9-10) was coming off its second loss to Wayne just three days ago. Now, the Firebirds are hopeful of being a wildcard in the upcoming Division I sectional. Why? Because the season-defining win snapped Xenia’s red-hot six-game win streak and left the Buccaneers (11-6) wondering what just happened.
Look no further than Cade Moran’s shutdown of Xenia sophomore standout Samari Curtis, who led the Bucs with 14 points. However, that’s far below his GWOC leading average of 24.9 points.
Hendricks had 11 points in the first quarter on a variety of darts to the basket and casting the 3-ball. His seven 3-pointers were one shy of matching the school record.
“Our guys did a good job of finding him,” Fairmont coach Blair Albright said. “We tried to keep things as simple as we could. It’s been a really stressful and difficult couple of weeks for us. I knew how badly we needed this game. Offensively, we shared the basketball really beautifully. When we lock in defensively and we rebound the ball competitively we’re a much different team. When we don’t do those things we really struggle.”
Kellan Bochenek added three 3-pointers and 13 points for Fairmont and Dylan Crutchfield produced 10 points.
Xenia never found its range, missing all but one of its 20 three-pointers. Meechi Harris added 10 points for the Buccaneers.
Xenia coach Kent Anderson didn’t see this coming, not after winning nine of 10 games.
“For as well as we’ve played lately, we didn’t show up,” he said. “We didn’t shoot the ball. They crashed the offensive glass and we didn’t rebound. We didn’t run our stuff with any speed. We didn’t execute. It was a combination of things. They kicked our butt in every phase of the game.”
Fairmont (2-7) is anchored in the bottom of the GWOC National East. Xenia (6-4) is far behind leader Trotwood-Madison in the GWOC American South. Both Fairmont and Xenia hope to make up for that in the postseason.
“We really needed that win,” Hendricks said. “With the tourney coming up, it really helps our seeding and maybe we can make a run. I think we can make a run and really surprise some teams.”