The Fairview boys basketball team’s shooting touch has ebbed and flowed throughout the season. But on nights when the Warriors have been on-target, they’ve poured on the points.
Visiting Black River managed to catch the Warriors on one of those deadly-accurate nights Feb. 23, and the result was a Division III sectional semifinal blowout that triggered a running clock in the second half.
The Warriors (11-10) hit 11 3-pointers, got three scorers into double figures and ran away from the Pirates (3-14) for a 76-34 victory. Seeded seventh and coming out of the Northeast 3 District, the Warriors earned the right to travel to No. 3 Apple Creek Waynedale Feb. 26 for a sectional final, where their season came to an end in a close loss, 67-61.
“There’s not much better than (a hot start like that),” Warriors senior guard Ethan McQuate said. “We just have to lock in from the start and then we’re good.”
The Pirates started the contest using a 2-3 zone defense, daring the Warriors to find open shooters along the perimeter. The hosts obliged, and rather quickly. Using a potent drive-and-kick game, five of their first six made baskets were threes, all courtesy of Michael Goff, Tyler Holliday and McQuate. They closed the first quarter on a 16-2 run for a 25-10 lead.
While setting a high-scoring tone early, they connected on 6-of-9 3-point attempts in the first eight minutes of play.
“We felt we were very prepared for that 2-3 (zone) coming into the game,” Warriors junior guard Danny Hanton said. “We were just making sure we got into the middle of the zone and kicked it out to our open shooters.”
Because it was one of those nights where everything was clicking for the Warriors, they opened the second quarter on an 11-1 run, then closed it on a 9-2 spurt to go into halftime up 45-18.
While shooting 17-33 (51%) from the floor–including 8-17 (47%) 3-pointers–in the first half, they also swarmed to the ball on defense. They forced 10 of the Pirates’ 18 total turnovers in the first half and held them to 26% shooting.
“The nice thing is, you have to win to move on, and I think they knew that,” Warriors coach Ryan Barry said. “They didn’t allow the pressure (of the tournament) to get to them. A lot of them, that’s their first playoff game. They came out, did what they were supposed to do. They didn’t try to get theirs, but they tried to get each other involved. And defensively, they were locked in and talking.”
A three-point play by Hanton early in the third quarter put the Warriors ahead 50-20, which meant the clock would keep running, even through play stoppages. The offense didn’t stop humming though, as they ended the quarter on a 12-0 run and upped the lead to 69-25. Benches were emptied in the fourth quarter.
McQuate led all scorers with 23 points. Goff scored 14–all in the first half–and Holliday had 10. Sophomore forward Jaylen Thomas came off the bench to finish with four points and a team-high six rebounds. Hanton had three points but dished a game-high four assists, continually punching holes in the Pirates’ zone.
For the game, the Warriors shot 51%.
“If we’re open, I know we’ll shoot well from three. There’s no doubt about that,” Barry said. “So just creating those shots, they did a really good job.”
Cayden Hinderman-Powell led the Pirates with 10 points, while Daniel Jeske had nine points and seven rebounds.
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