Tied 9-9 after one quarter with West (5-10), Fairmont (7-7) turned an 11-11 tie into a 23-13 lead on 3-pointers by Eli Sherwood, Evan Gentile, Tyler Gentile and Brock Baker.
“I feel like on defense, we really stalled them out so they felt dead and really didn’t want to play anymore,” Rountree said of the second quarter. “So everything opened up for us on offense.”
The Firebirds led 31-15 at halftime and 47-28 after three quarters. They shot 59.4%, including 7 of 13 3-pointers as they moved the ball well and found a rhythm.
“What I think everyone feels really good about is that we did it within what we do, and it wasn’t just like we were taking bad shots and they were just going in and we got that lead,” Molz said. “We worked and did things within what Fairmont basketball stands for and what we practice.”
This season is much different than last when the Firebirds won their second district title and first since 1995 and finished 22-4. Gone from that team are leading scorers Anthony Johnson and Dasan Doucet, both playing in college. Molz is playing a mixture of seniors and sophomores, and he liked the maturity he saw Monday.
“It was a big step forward for us, especially with our younger guys really understanding and buying into what our culture is, what our values are, what our identity is,” Molz said. “We really stress communication, our bench being active and vocal and being dialed in so when guys get in there there’s no drop off.”
Rountree came in averaging 7.9 points, but he has scored in double figures in four of the past six games, including 17 in a two-point win over Oakwood.
“Jameson has been really good for us,” Molz said. “We always talk about potential, and I always hate that word because that means you’re not good yet. He’s starting to live up to some of those things that everybody sees in him on a consistent basis.”
Sherwood finished with 11 points.