Centerville, Ohio — It was an MVL team that ended the Firebirds season last year. Darren Taborn and the Sidney Yellow Jackets took down Fairmont, despite Malachi Parker’s 16 points off the bench. Following a hectic season which was turned upside down due to COVID, Fairmont only came into the tournament playing twelve games.
They dropped three straight games before a big win at the buzzer to end their season at Springfield. The momentum didn’t carry over into the game against Xenia as the Firebirds got off to a very slow start. Fairmont had trouble on the glass as Xenia killed them with their offensive rebounds. A big quarter from Josiah Harding and Dylan Hoosier put Xenia in front 21-13 at the end of the first.
After another three from Hoosier, Xenia took a commanding 27-15 lead. Then something finally clicked for Fairmont. Anthony Johnson drilled a corner three and then Cadyn Howard got a layup to go. Johnson then took a charge which gave the Firebirds back the energy in the game. A floater from Howard brought Fairmont back down just 29-28 at the half.
Then the Firebirds went on one of the most impressive runs in possibly their school’s history. After a bucket from Howard and a three from Johnson, Fairmont took a 36-29 lead. It didn’t stop there though. Anthony Johnson hit yet another three to give Fairmont a ten point lead. An Eli Sherwood three and a Malachi Parker steal and score moved Fairmont past the twenty point lead mark. Dylan Hoosier finally stopped the bleeding with a layup, but at that point Fairmont already led 52-29.
Fairmont led 52-36 heading into the fourth and the momentum stayed with the Firebirds for the rest of the game. They eventually held on to win 68-48 behind a 20 point performance from Anthony Johnson. The Firebirds didn’t start off how they wanted but they came out and competed in the second half which eventually led to Kenny Molz’s first playoff win as head coach of the Firebirds. Fairmont will advance to take on Miamisburg on Tuesday in the sectional semifinal.
Anthony Johnson (Fairmont/G/2022): Anthony Johnson is the perfect point guard any team would want. He plays unselfishly and knows when to take the right shots and when to give the ball off. He played his heart out on Friday and was the biggest factor in the Firebirds’ win. Johnson has a very good shot with a good looking release. He has a knack for finishing at the rim despite his smaller frame and is a great point guard and decision maker.
Dylan Hoosier (Xenia/G/2021): Hoosier is an experienced guard that started for Xenia since the Samari Curtis era. His career came to an end on Friday night but not without a great effort from the senior guard. Hoosier’s somewhat unorthodox shot-release works as he went 2/2 from behind the arc.
Cadyn Hower (Fairmont/G/2023): Hower played a big role along with Anthony Johnson to lead to Farimont’s opening round win. He played his role very well and was able to finish off multiple passes from Docuet and Parker which helped Fairmont go on their 24-0 run.