FAIRMONT — After two and a half quarters, the Fairmont boys basketball team returned to the form it had been playing with during the previous 15 wins to secure win No. 16 in a row over Currituck County on Tuesday.
The Golden Tornadoes offense and defense responded after the Knights cut it close midway through the third quarter to advance to the second round of the NCHSAA 2A state playoffs with a 86-55 win in the first round at home. Making it nine seasons in a row that Fairmont has moved on past the first round.
Fifth-seeded Fairmont stays at home for the second round as it hosts No. 11 seed North Pitt tomorrow night.
Currituck County (11-13) came out of halftime on fire from the floor with a 15-9 run, cutting Fairmont’s (24-4) lead to 43-41 with 3:40 left in the quarter. After an error-filled and uptight start, the Golden Tornadoes looked more comfortable on the floor in the final 11 minutes by settling into the fast pace they play better in.
“I think we came out tight in the first half and we didn’t come out focused,” said Fairmont coach Montrell McNair. “I talked to them at halftime about playing in the moment and not overlooking this one game. We came out a little better with more intensity in the second half and had more defensive pressure. We played more disciplined on defense.”
Fairmont closed the third quarter on a 14-4 run, capped off by a Jarique Moore slam off a steal with seconds left in the third a play that brought the crowd back in the game, and Fairmont back in its comfort zone.
While Moore’s slam seemed to turn the tide, the play of Corry Addison at point guard carried the Golden Tornadoes through the rough stretches against Currituck County, and helped the offense flow in the second half when it found its groove. Addison finished with a game-high 19 points, four assists and three steals.
“I had to come out and control the tempo of the game like I was supposed to, play better defense and get everybody involved,” Addison said. “When we pushing (the ball) we get easy buckets. It was tough, but it’s also mental because when you push the ball the floor starts opening up and it gets easier.”
After halftime, Addison scored 11 of his 19 points on a night where he and his fellow starters around the perimeter had big nights. Derrick Arnette had 17 points, while Julius Caulder and Moore each had 14 points. Those four, along with three points from Kaheem Pittman built up a 20-10 lead for Fairmont in the first quarter.
“I thought we came out with more heart,” Addison said of the second half. “Our defense stepped up and we started relaxing on offense and taking good shots.
In the second quarter, the Knight hung tight behind the scoring of Tre Burton, Ricky Owens and Nick McDonald to keep the score inside of 10 points heading to the half. Owens led his team in scoring for the game with 16 points.
After creating offense in the open court in the first half, Currituck County saw its buckets in transition cut down later in the game, leading to Fairmont running away with the game.
“They outran us down the court. Transition wise they beat us down the court in the first half,” McNair said. “In the second half we made adjustments to it and came out to cut down their transition baskets.”
Third quarter stretch lifts Northside over Fairmont girls
JACKSONVILLE — The Northside girls basketball team controlled the game in the third quarter in the first round matchup against Fairmont, leading to the Lady Monarchs to a 64-32 win at home.
Northside advances to play at Red Springs in Thursday’s second round.
Fairmont (12-13) was outscored 18-0 in the third quarter after trailing Northside (22-5) 43-23 at the half.
Timia Grant and Kayla Stephens scored 15 points each for the Lady Monarchs. Kiara Page scored 17 for Fairmont.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.