By Amy Rutledge
It was a tough game for the Fairview Warriors who played the Oberlin Phoenix last Friday night. After a close first half, the rebounding strength of Oberlin took over and the Warriors lost 76-65.
“They beat us with their strength, offensive rebounding,” said Warriors head coach Pete Maienknecht. “(Oberlin’s Trevon Tucker and Dominic Taylor), those guys and other guys as well played extremely hard and they really compete on the boards. The first half we did a really good job of limiting their offensive rebounds, but the second half they had anywhere from 16 to 18 rebounds. Ultimately that’s what broke our back.”
The Warriors were able to maintain a lead throughout the first quarter limiting Oberlin’s rebounds. After back-to-back 3-pointers by John Miles and Cole Ziegler, Fairview was able to finish the quarter with a six-point lead over Oberlin. The second quarter also worked in favor of the Warriors. Oberlin was able to score off a steal, but a strong Fairview defense prevented the team from scoring on two more consecutive steals. A second pair of three pointers this time by Miles and Jason Kish continued the six point lead midway through the quarter. The Warriors went into the half with a five-point lead over Oberlin.
“I thought my kids played hard tonight,” Maienknecht said. “I’m proud of them. I thought our effort was solid. We had two stretches where I thought we got a little bit sloppy and out of our game plan. I thought we stayed in the fight. We took a five-point lead at the half. They made a nice run, but we kept scrapping and clawing and hung around.”
After the half, Fairview maintained its lead, staying five or six points ahead. A 12-point run late in the third quarter by Oberlin closed the gap and the chance at a Warrior victory as Oberlin took the lead 54-47. The Warriors tried everything they could in the fourth quarter to stop Oberlin’s chance at rebounding, but after another run by Oberlin, this time by nine points, and the Warriors’ Rory Juhn, their tallest player, in foul trouble, there wasn’t much that could be done.
“Juhn got in foul trouble there at the end,” Maienknecht stated. “Rory being on the bench, our leading rebounder and biggest guy, hurt us.
“We tip our hat to Oberlin,” he added. “They are a playing really well. It is frustrating when you are giving a team several shot opportunities to our one. We can’t give up 75 points and win a basketball game. We scored 65 tonight and that’s good for us.”
Leading the Warriors was John Doherty with 23 points and John Miles with 22 points. Also contributing were, Juhn with nine points, Cole Ziegler with six points, Jason Kish with three points and Eric Lebon with two points.
Courage and consistent play have been two areas the team has focused on this year to improve its game.
“We have improved in both of those areas,” Maienknecht stated. “We had a nice run where we won five or six ballgames. We won those games in two ways: with good fundamental play and work ethic. This team has evolved a lot and we’ve come a long way from what we were early in the season.
“We feel like any night we can go out and compete with anyone, and we’ve proven that for the most part. We need to regroup and get back to good habits and improve and get ready for the next game,” he added.
With the first round of tournaments just days away, the Warriors will be working to end their season with a championship title.
“We take an 8-9 record into the draw,” Maienknecht stated. “That puts us in the area of fifth or sixth best record with a potential of seventh or eighth seed, but you never know. We said at the start of our season that our goal is to win in the playoffs. We want to play for a sectional championship. We are taking one practice and one game at a time. We need to focus on fundamentals and work ethic. If we focus on those things, we’ll get better and be ready to play.”