Griffins Thwart Australian Invasion

Fairfield Central’s Brandon Adams goes up over Horizon’s Timothy Winstanley for two. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

WINNSBORO – In their final tune-up leading into Region III 2A play, the Fairfield Central Griffins boys’ basketball squad hosted our allies from the Southern Hemisphere Monday night, treating the Horizon Saints traveling Australian high school team to some true Southern inhospitality. Spreading points across their bench, the Griffins handed the Aussies a 72-53 drubbing at Fairfield Central High School.

“They are a scrappy bunch,” Griffin head coach Devin Liferidge said after the win. “I admit, I was worried. I think we caught them at a good time. We were able to jump on them early and hang on.”

With the Australians hanging in there early, the Griffins went to a full-court press midway through the first quarter to break a 7-7 tie, forcing turnovers and closing out the quarter with a 15-10 lead. The Saints would never get so close again as the Griffins poured on the pressure and ran the floor at will on the traveling squad.

Turnovers were key, particularly in the first half. The Australians handed the ball over to the Griffins 10 times in the first two quarters; 16 total on the night. Of those, eight were unforced. The Griffins, meanwhile, turned it over only 10 times total, six in the first half as their run-and-gun offense opened a 39-18 halftime lead.

The Griffins were able to command the tempo and the scoreboard with almost no offensive input from their top scorer, senior Keith Workman. Workman was held to only two first-half points, nine total on the night. Sophomore Brandon Adams and junior Shadarius Hopkins took up the slack, nailing down 10 points each. The Griffins’ bench made up the rest, with 13 of 14 Griffins putting up points.

“We wanted to be relentless with our pace,” Liferidge said. “We were able to get out there and run our lanes and run hard.”

By the third quarter, the outcome of the game was clear as the Griffins outshot the Saints 20-12 to build a 59-30 lead.

Timothy Winstanley led the Australians with 26 points and the small but feisty Lincoln Pratt directed the Saints’ offense with remarkable swiftness, threading the Griffin defense and kicking out to the perimeter with ease. But in the end, the Aussies were outsized and overmatched by a tenacious Griffin club.

The Griffins boys and girls open region play tonight (Jan. 10) at home against Columbia, then travel to Eau Claire Tuesday. Girls tip at 6 p.m. both nights.

H – 10-8-12-23 – 53

F – 15-24-20-13 – 72

H – Bayley Hudson—2, Lincoln Pratt—7, James Smith—6, Timothy Winstanley—26, David Adams—8, Jayden Cyster—4.

F – Dequan Weldon—8, Keith Workman—9, Jalyn Davis—6, Brandon Adams—10, Victor Alston—2, Daniel Maple—9, Tavaris Cook—3, Shadarius Hopkins—10, Chanti Jones—4, Javahnne Neal—2, Javaris Cook—5, Jamil Thompson—2, Nick Rikard—2.