Griffins Advance over Volunteers, Face Indian Land Monday

Jalyn Davis drives against Andrew Jackson

The Fairfield Central Griffins used a second half surge, with Keith Workman and Jalyn Davis combining for 28 points after the break, to put away the Andrew Jackson Volunteers, 72-60, in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs Wednesday night.

Down early after the opening tip, the Griffins tied the game at 7 on a 3-point bucket by Compton Walker with 5:15 left in the first quarter. With Fairfield up 20-14 going into the second period, the Volunteers proved to be no pushovers, cutting the Griffin lead to 23-20 with 6 minutes to play before the break. The Volunteers worked the ball underneath to their big men, Wade Eubanks and Tilson Kirkland, to keep the game close, while Fairfield’s Workman and Daniel Maple converted on fast breaks to stay just ahead of the Andrew Jackson push.

In the closing minute of the half, Andrew Jackson’s Dustin Eddins nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to whittle the Griffin edge down to 30-28. Then, a 3-point shot at the buzzer by Volunteer Avalon Truesdale drew a foul, sending him to the line with no time left on the clock. Truesdale hit two of three shots, sending the Volunteers into the locker room down 32-30.

Rejuvenated, the Volunteers came out to start the third quarter with a sense of momentum shift. Andrew Jackson tied the game at 32-all with 7:17 on the clock, but Workman put the Griffins right back in front only seconds later. The swing set off a chain reaction of back-and-forth lead changes as both teams raced the floor. Quadarius Fair led the charge for the Volunteers, hammering in 13 second-half points for Andrew Jackson.

“We knew (Fair) was going to come out and attack,” Griffin head coach Devin Liferidge said. “He’s a tough guy to defend.”

But with 3:21 to play, the Volunteers went cold, all the wind exhausted from their charge, and the Griffins had climbed out front 46-38. As Workman and Davis came alive, the Griffins had built a 50-41 lead at the end of the quarter. Although the Volunteers would get as close as 5 points, 60-55, with 3:09 to play, the Griffins never took their foot off the gas, putting Andrew Jackson away for good.

“We finally got multiple stops instead of trading baskets,” Liferidge said of his team’s ability to end the seesaw battle in the third. “And we were able to play without fouling.”

The Griffins advance to the second round against Indian Land Monday night (Feb. 18) in a 6 p.m. game that was originally scheduled for Saturday.

FC—Keith Workman: 29, Jalyn Davis: 21, Compton Walker: 12, Daniel Maple: 10, Shadarius Hopkins: 5.

AJ—Cameron McIsaac: 3, Quadarius Fair: 19, Avalon Truesdale: 18, Tilson Kirkland: 4, Wade Eubanks: 6, Trey King: 4, Dustin Eddins: 6.