RIVERSIDE — Not even a late-game fire alarm could spoil Fairborn’s 46-41 road victory over Stebbins, on Friday, Feb. 3.
The Skyhawks roared out to a blistering 14-1 lead in the first quarter, withstood a 13-5 comeback by the Indians, then held serve the rest of the way to claim the road win.
“That wasn’t pretty. But any time you can go on the road and get a win, we’ll definitely take it,” Fairborn coach Nathan Chivington said. “That was a new experience with the fire alarm, though. That’s one way to ice a free-throw shooter, I guess.”
With 31.8 seconds left to play and the Skyhawks clinging to a 43-41 lead — after Stebbins’ Mark Perkins had just scored a lay-in — the high school’s fire alarm sounded and fans and players were momentarily evacuated from the gymnasium. Four minutes later, everyone was ushered back into the gym and play resumed, long enough for Branden Lilley to hit three of his four free-throw tries to seal the win in the game’s final 11 seconds.
Chivington said he’d been involved in a fire alarm incident once before. After a win, someone pulled the fire alarm while the team was still in the showers after a game.
“But during the game? That’s a new one for me,” he said.
Shaunn Monroe led Fairborn (10-8, 8-4 Greater Western Ohio Conference, American South) with 12 points, after going scoreless in the first quarter. Branden Lilley finished with 10 points, after being held scoreless in the first half. Brandon Easterling, Jared Bodekor and Omar Inman each finished with six.
“We were asking our guys to play a little more aggressively on offense in the second half. I thought defensively, we did a great job. But unless you’re putting up points, you’re not going to win many ball games,” Chivington said. “It wasn’t so much our shot selection. I thought we took a lot of quick shots when we maybe could’ve gotten a better look later on in the possession. And we definitely need to be crisper with our passes. I thought that was a problem early on for us.”
Stebbins coach Ron Coleman said his Indians had committed 20 turnovers for the first time since December.
“That 14-1 deficit in the first quarter really hurt us, and we couldn’t rally enough in the second quarter to even things up,” Coleman said. “You expend so much energy in bouncing back like that. Even late in the game, I think we just stopped playing aggressive and going to the basket. When they played a trap defense, we started going from side to side instead of attacking the basket. Once we started attacking again, we were out of energy once more.”
Coleman said he sat down his best shooter — Mickael Mayo — in the game for “team reasons” early on in the game. Mayo, who’d been averaging 13.8 points per game in his last five games, did not score against Fairborn.
Jonathan Mpanzu led Stebbins (8-9, 4-7 GWOC American South) with a game-high 19 points while Perkins was next with 11. Stebbins’ next game will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 when they travel to Xenia.
Fairborn is back in action today, Feb. 4, for a Saturday night game. The Skyhawks will host GWOC National East division contender Centerville at 7:30 p.m in the Baker Fieldhouse.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.