- Marc Pendleton Staff Writer
Fairmont’s players had heard and read on social media the inevitable: They had no chance against mighty Butler, a No. 3 seed in the boys Division I high school basketball tournament.
That was just fine with the Firebirds.
“Everybody thought they were going to win that game,” Fairmont senior bomber Jack Hendricks said after the Firebirds delivered a thorough 58-43 upset of Butler in Wednesday night’s sectional semifinals at Centerville. “We were definitely the underdog. It’s win or go home and we want to win.”
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Miamisburg took out Belmont 71-59 in the doubleheader opener. That pits Fairmont (15-9) against streaking Miamisburg (19-4) in Saturday’s sectional final at 7 p.m. at Centerville.
It was yet another strong statement by the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East, which Fairmont is a member. Only Beavercreek has been eliminated from the GWOC’s large-school division, and the Beavers ousted Southwestern Buckeye League power Franklin in their opener.
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GWOC East member and No. 2 seed Springfield (19-4) will play Sidney (18-6) in a D-I sectional final at 7 p.m. Friday at Centerville. The two remaining East teams – top-seeded Wayne (22-1) and Centerville (13-10) - will play in another D-I sectional final at 7 p.m. Friday at Butler.
Fairmont hiked up its defense against Butler, which was limited to its third-lowest offensive output of the season. Fairmont clinched its fourth straight win by converting 14 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Hendricks hit four 3-pointers and led Fairmont with 16 points. Cade Morgan and Ryan Hall each added 10 points apiece for the Firebirds.
Kort Justice led Butler with 15 points. Braedon Norman had three 3-pointers and added 11 points for the Aviators, who tied with Sidney for the GWOC American North title.
Miamisburg 71, Belmont 59: Jason Hubbard had 18 points by halftime and tallied 30 in leading the red-hot Vikings in Wednesday’s opener. Champions of the GWOC National West, Miamisburg will take a 10-game win streak into the sectional final against Fairmont.
Miamisburg won at Fairmont in a regular-season defensive struggle, 40-35.
A 6-foot-5 senior, Hubbard is a rugged inside presence, but he hit six 3-pointers and eight free throws to repeatedly frustrate the Bison. Signed with Taylor (Ind.) University, he huddled with Taylor coaches afterward.
“It’s very exciting,” Hubbard said. “We’re just happy to be here and get the W. We worked so hard over the summer. All the work we put in has paid off.”
Corey Hartman had three 3-pointers, hit seven three throws and added 20 points for Miamisburg.
Belmont (15-7) was paced by Jadon Furlow’s 24 points, all but two coming in the second half. That ended an outstanding football and basketball Bison career for the senior. He signed as a defensive back with Miami University.
Belmont’s Kendall Moore added 13 points and Jeff Hunt 12.
Carroll 35, Graham 32 OT: Matt Cogan had four 3-pointers for the Patriots, including the game-winner with 9 seconds left in overtime in a D-II sectional semi on Wednesday at Springfield High School. Carroll (15-9) will play Springfield Shawnee (16-8) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a sectional final also at Springfield. Shawnee advance by defeating Urbana 53-31 on Wednesday.
Tristen Henry hit a game-winning bucket in OT to defeat Kenton Ridge in Graham’s previous OT win. He also hit a layup with four seconds left in regulation against Carroll to force another OT. Graham (11-13) lost for the ninth time when it had a chance to score and win or force overtime in the final minute.
Fort Loramie 67, Bradford 40: Dillon Braun hit six 3-pointers and scored 29 points in leading the top-seeded Redskins in a D-IV sectional semi at Piqua on Wednesday. Loramie (22-2) will play Ansonia (12-10) in a sectional final at 7 p.m. Saturday also at Piqua. Ansonia advanced by edging Botkins 59-57 also on Wednesday.