Lady Griffins Topple Keenan

 

Fairfield Central’s Jada Martin draws the foul going up in the lane at Keenan. (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

COLUMBIA – In a battle for region supremacy Friday night, the Fairfield Central Lady Griffins made a definitive statement to the 2A basketball world, besting Region III favorites Keenan 44-38 on the Lady Raiders’ home floor.

“We had to come in here and prove a point,” senior guard Jada Martin said after the game. “We knew what was at stake tonight.”

Martin, who was announced earlier this month as one of six Midlands players to be nominated to play in the McDonald’s All-American games in Chicago in April (lineups will be announced Jan. 29), took four quarters of inhospitality from the Raider fans Friday night, bombarded with chants of “Over-Rated!” whenever she had her hands on the ball. Nevertheless, Martin put up 16 points for the lady Griffins en route to the victory.

“That stuff goes in one ear and out the other,” Martin said.

“If you’re not good, they won’t say it,” head coach Cedric Simpson added.

Fairfield laid off their trademark full-court press against the Lady Raiders, opting instead for a half-court trap.

“We were trying to mix it up,” Simpson said.

The move gave the Lady Griffins an early 8-4 lead; but Keenan came roaring back in the closing minutes of the first quarter. With 1:22 to play, Keenan’s Bria Jackson somehow managed to sink an off-balance, falling-away reverse layup to put the Lady Raiders out front 10-9. The Lady Griffins recaptured the lead with 6 seconds remaining, however, on a jumper by Tanise Davis.

The game would continue to see-saw back and forth through the second quarter, with Keenan going up 13-11 at the 4:30 mark. A steal by Martin put the Lady Griffins back in front as she fed the ball to Davis on the perimeter, whence Davis stroked a 3-pointer with 4:10 to go. Chyna Moore would twice find the basket before the break on back-to-back steals by Davis and Moore, and another 3-ball by Davis at the buzzer would give Fairfield a 24-20 lead at the half.

Going to the press in the third quarter, the Lady Griffins held Keenan scoreless through the 4:14 mark and extended their lead to their largest margin of the game thus far, 30-22. The Lady Raiders scratched out just four more points against the Fairfield defense, as the Lady Griffins ended the quarter with a 33-26 lead.

Keenan turned up the pressure in the closing frame, running the half-court trap and putting man-to-man pressure on the Lady Griffins. The pressure was costly, however, as the Lady Raiders sent Fairfield to the line down the stretch. Martin and Davis combined to hit six of eight attempts from the stripe in the waning minutes to help seal the win. The Lady Griffins also struggled with fouls throughout the game, with no fewer than three Lady Griffins earning three fouls or more. The Lady Raiders, however, could not take advantage.

“They kept us in foul trouble,” Simpson said. “We told our girls before the game, we can’t foul.”

With 3:14 to play, the Lady Griffins had built a 40-29 lead, but a strong Keenan run cut that down to 40-36 with 1:56 to play. Martin ended the Fairfield drought hitting one of two from the foul line.

Tuesday night, the Lady Griffins disposed of Pelion, 45-31. Fairfield travels to North Central tonight for a 6 p.m. tip.

 

FC – 11-13-9-11 – 44

K – 10-10-6-12 – 38

FC – Jada Martin-16, Tanise Davis-12, Chyna Moore-7, T. Pearson-5, Raven Rivers-3, Patrice jeter-1.

K—Samrya Grier-11, Bria Jackson-8, Jasmine Haggins-6, Demyra Rudder-6, Leon Hill-4, Kayla Butler-3.