FAYETTEVILLE — Coming off a 27-point loss to Lynchburg the night before, the Fayetteville Rockets boys’ basketball team took to their home court for a league bout with the Fairfield Indians.
Thanks to 11 points from Nic Ball in the fourth quarter, the Rockets were able to pick up the 77-66 victory.
The first half was a battle on both sides of the court. Fayetteville jumped in front just four seconds into the game after Max Iles grabbed the opening tip and raced down the court for a layup. Fayetteville head coach Darryl Iles said that was a designed play with the goal of getting Max Iles involved early on offense.
“We set up the first play for him to get a layup,” Iles said. “I thought that would help get him going. He’s been trying to come in the game and chuck up a three, and if you wait later on after you’re in a rhythm you’ll knock it down. You’ve got to come in the game, hit a layup or two then take the outside shot.”
Fairfield led 15-14 at the end of the first quarter. The Rockets’ offense exploded in the second quarter, putting up 21 points. Five of the 21 points came from Max Lanham, who finished the game with nine. Fairfield’s Ethan Putman scored 12 points in the second quarter, but the Rockets still led 35-32 at the break.
“They were shooting the ball really well,” Iles said. “I thought we got every look we wanted to on defense. Putman’s a great player, he was making everything. I think he had 17 points in the first half.”
Fayetteville made a change on defense at halftime. Ball moved over to guard Putman, and the result was noticeable.
“He guarded Putman and held him to eight in the second half,” Iles said. “In the locker room, we challenged them and asked who could guard him [Putman] and he guarded him. Nick did a very nice job attacking the basket, making some layups and he hit his free-throws. He’s probably the player of the game, I’d say.”
Fairfield entered the fourth quarter with a 51-47 lead, but Fayetteville’s offense put up a whopping 30 points, which allowed them to pull away for the 11-point victory.
“I knew it was going to be a battle,” Iles said. “It was a battle up there. We thought it’d be a lower-scoring game; it wasn’t. We got the ball up and down and did pretty well. We thought we’d get them wore down, then attack the basket and try to get them in foul trouble.”
The team was able to do just that, as four Indians finished the game with four fouls while two others had three. Fayetteville hit 25 of their 31 free-throw attempts in the game.
Iles led the Rockets with 24 points. He had scored 18 points total in the team’s previous two games against Manchester and Lynchburg. The effort leaves him 16 points shy of entering the 1,000 point club.
“He’s been struggling a little bit,” Iles said. “He’s been coming off of being sick. He twisted his ankle, then he was sick and missed a week of practice but he played pretty well tonight. We told him he had to go have some fun. I think he was just putting a lot of pressure on himself, being a senior and a four-year varsity player.”
The Rockets return to action Tuesday night with a home match against the Felicity Cardinals. Iles said he hopes the team can bring the same level of intensity the squad brought against Fairfield to that game .
“We play really well at home,” Iles said. “Hopefully we don’t take them lightly.”
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Southern Hills Athletic Conference
Lynchburg 60, Zane Trace 20
Manchester 71, Augusta (KY) 36
West Union at Portsmouth
Peebles 55, St. Patrick’s (KY) 15
Eastern Pike 57, North Adams 54
Zane Trace 74, Lynchburg 56
Whiteoak 70, Manchester 47
Summit Country Day 56, Peebles 38
Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference
Amelia 73, Georgetown 37
Blanchester 66, Felicity 64
Goshen 42, Mariemont 41
Amelia 37, Georgetown 34
New Richmond 66, MVCA 50