Fairfield hammers the Hounds 79-54 –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Homecoming Night at any high school is always a festive occasion , capped off hopefully with a big win by the home team. That script didn’t work out so well last Friday night in Manchester as the Greyhounds hosted the Fairfield Lions.
The theme for the night was “Super Heroes” and the Greyhounds could have used some super help as the Lions came to town and totally dominated the home team in all phases of the game, running at high speed from start to finish and spoiling the night for the Hounds with a convincing 79-54 victory.
Without too much obstruction, the Lions shot 68% from the field, with most of their attempts coming from close range, and placed five players in double figures, showing all in attendance why they are firmly entrenched in first place in the small-school division of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference.
Runs of 10-2, 11-2, and 14-2 kept the Greyhounds at bay and allowed the Lions to cruise to the conference win.
Though the final score did not indicate it, this Friday night battle was a close on for the first two quarters. The Greyhounds played well early, taking a 10-6 lead on a basket in transition by Colton Thornburg and three-pointers from Kaulen Cox and Jamie Combs. At that point, the Lions went on their first run of the game, scoring 10 of the game’s next 12 points to jump in front 16-12 and the visitors never trailed the rest of the night. Two more Thornburg buckets kept the Hounds close, but a score in the final seconds by Fairfield’s Jesse Current gave the Lions a 20-16 advantage after the initial eight minutes.
Early in the second stanza, a basket by Shaun Gould and a Thornburg trey allowed the home side to stay within 26-21, but a quick 7-0 spurt by the Lions stretched the Fairfield advantage to double digits for the first time. A three-point goal by Manchester’s Gage Lucas and a bucket by Tanner Utterback kept the deficit at nine, and in the final minute of the first half, the Hounds finished a 9-1 run with another Combs three and a Gould free throw to only trail by six, 38-32, at the intermission.
Any momentum the Greyhounds may have taken into the locker room was gone when they came back on the floor for the third quarter, as the Lions began to pull away, beginning the second half with a 7-2 run to go up 45-34. A three by Fairfield’s Current, a rare outside shot for the Lions, came right before the Hounds suffered a blow with Thornburg going down with a shoulder injury with the home side down 50-39.
That injury came in the midst of an 11-2 Lions’ run that saw them holding a 56-41 lead as the third quarter came to a close.
It seemed as if the Hounds lost all focus in the fourth period as the Lions began to run the floor at will and continued to pad their lead. A three from Jensen Daulton pushed the lead to 63-43, part of a 7-2 run to begin the final stanza. After Manchester got their own three from Chase Darnell, the Lions put this one in the bag by scoring the game’s next 12 points to completely blow the game wide open and take a commanding 75-46 lead.
The Greyhounds got a pair of late baskets from Bryan Young and another from Mason Bilyeu, but by that time the Lions had already left them in their dust, ready to make the long trek back to Leesburg with a 79-54 victory in their pockets.
In the big win, Fairfield placed five players in double figures, led by 15 points from Jensen Daulton. Jesse Current added 13, with Klay Walker getting 12, Tucker Ayres 11, and Cody Gragg 10.
Manchester was led by 11 points from Colton Thornburg, who never returned to the game after his third quarter injury. Kaulen Cox also hit double figures with 10, while Bryan Young added 8.
The loss dropped the Hounds to 4-8 on the year, 1-5 in the SHAC, and was their second loss to Fairfield this season. The Manchester squad did do some “getting back on the right track” the next night when they picked up their fifth win by topping Green on the road 79-51. The win Friday night kept the Lions unbeaten in the SHAC, but that came to an end 24 hours later when they fell to Lynchburg by a final score of 67-62, but still hold the top spot in the small-school standings.
The Lions had a clean sweep on the night, as they also took home a win in the JV contest. The JV battle was close until runs of 9-0 and 8-0 in the third quarter to pull away and claim a 53-36 victory. The loss dropped the JV Hounds to 4-8 on the year.
The Greyhounds were back on their home court and back in SHAC action on Tuesday, Jan. 17 when they hosted the North Adams Green Devils.
20 18 18 23 –79
16 16 9 13 –54
Fairfield (79): Gragg 5 0-0 10, Walker 5 1-3 12, Lamb 0 2-2 2, Evans 4 0-0 8, Daulton 7 0-2 15, Cain 3 0-0 6, Current 6 0-0 13, Ayres 5 1-2 11, Bentley 1 0-0 2, Team36 4-9 79.
Manchester (54): Gould 1 1-2 3, Lucas 2 0-0 5, Utterback 2 0-0 4, Darnell 1 0-0 3, Combs 2 0-0 6, Thornburg 4 2-2 11, Bilyeu 1 2-2 4, Young 4 0-0 8, Cox 4 0-0 10, Team 21 5-6 54.
Fairfield (3): Walker 1, Daulton 1, Current 1
Manchester (7): Lucas 1, Darnell 1, Combs 2, Thornburg 1, Cox 2