Centerville, Ohio — Usually, when a three and ten seed square off, it isn’t a close game. Fairmont is not your usual ten seed though. The Firebirds have accomplished a lot this season with an extremely young and inexperienced team. They knocked off Centerville, Wayne, and Springfield during the season but have struggled at times due to their lack of experience at the varsity level.
One of Fairmont’s trio of sophomore guards Keon Wright drilled a fadeaway three to start the game. Another one of those sophomore guards Anthony Johnson nailed a three to put the Firebirds up 6-1. Johnson then dumped it off to Danye Lewis for the layup to end the run and put Fairmont up 8-1. Darren Taborn wasn’t going down that easy as he drilled a corner three and then Avante Martin and Dominick Durr each got layups to bring Sidney back. Kaleb Hall and Keon Wright would each get buckets for Fairmont as well but the score was tied at 13-13 at the end of the 1st quarter.
The Firebirds came out hot in the second, Tank Gant, Kaleb Hall and Danye Lewis all scored to put them up 20-13. Dasan Doucet added on to the lead with a bucket of his own as well. Sidney would fight back as Lathan Jones tacked on a pair of layups to end the half down 22-17.
Darren Taborn started the second half with three straight buckets including an and-one to tie the game. Kaleb Hall would respond with a layup to give Fairmont the lead but another Taborn and-one would soon put Sidney on top. Lathan Jones then got a pair of layups including an and-one which gave the Yellow Jackets a 30-25 lead. Malachi Parker nailed a three for Fairmont to bring them within three as they trailed 35-32 at the end of the third.
Dominick Durr started the 4th with a jumper and then Cedric Johnson got a pair of steals and layups to put Sidney back up 41-33. Camden Vordemark finished off a transition layup to put the Yellow Jackets up double digits. Keon Wright hit a quick three but it was watered down by Jaden Swiger and Devin Taborn putting the Jackets back up by 11. Kaleb Hall hit a contested layup and then Malachi Parker took over. Parker hit a three and then drove through the lane to bring Fairmont back within 2. Avante Martin and Darren Taborn each got buckets to put Sidney up 53-49. Parker responded with a pair of clutch threes to make it a 58-54 game. Then, with 18 seconds left and down 6 Parker missed a three and Fairmont was forced to foul. Danye Lewis got another layup and then Keon Wright hit an uncontested three at the buzzer but it wasn’t enough. Sidney survived the young Firebirds and held on to win 60-59. Fairmont amounted over 20 turnovers in the loss which shows their inexperience. This is a Fairmont team that will be a scary sight come next March.
Darren Taborn finished with 15 points for Sidney and was joined by Dominick Durr and Devin Taborn who each scored 10 points each. Malachi Parker had a game-high 16 points for Fairmont. Keon Wright finished with 14 and Kaleb Hall had 12.
Sidney will advance to the District Semifinal against Stebbins at Centerville on Thursday.