Late Run Lifts Griffins Over Chester

Fairfield’s Dequan Weldon (1) hooks in the reverse layup. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

CHESTER – The Fairfield Central Griffin boys defeated the Chester Cyclones 58-52 Friday night in Chester, improving to 7-5 for the year. The Griffins overcame a slow start only to shoot lights-out in the final quarter.

“I felt like we did not execute precisely down the stretch against Chester,” said Griffin head coach Devin Liferidge. “We made it a bit of a nail biter but Chester played extremely hard and we expect those rivalry games to come down to the end.”

The Cyclones came out scorching hot, jumping out to a 12-5 lead by using tight defensive pressure to force the Griffins into rushed shots. Fairfield fought back by working the ball into the post area, which loosened up the perimeter defense and freed up Jalyn Davis for a three-pointer.

Chester continued to apply the pressure on the defensive side of the ball, and stretched their lead to 20-12 with 4:49 remaining in the second quarter.

On the Griffins next possession, Victor Alston ignited the Griffin crowd with a put-back dunk that cut the lead to five points.

The Cyclones countered with a dunk of their own and extended their lead to double digits. The Griffins were able to come back to within single digits by halftime, trailing 29-21 at the break.

The third quarter was more of the same from the Cyclones. Any time Fairfield would mount a run, the Cyclones would silence it with a bucket. With the Griffins down 12 points midway through the third quarter, coach Liferidge called a time out to collect the team.

The Griffins turned up their defensive pressure and started chipping away at the deficit. Three pointers from Javahnne Neal and Byron Sampson gave hope to the Griffins and a 10-second call swung the momentum in the gym in their favor and with 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Griffins took the lead, 37-35.

The fourth quarter saw the Griffins put in a full-court press and set the tone for the rest of the game. The lead they had worked the entire game to attain was not going to slip away. The Griffins led by six with 5:17 left to play and had extended the lead to 50-41 at the three-minute mark.

The Cyclones would make one final push and Fairfield focused on milking the clock, but the Griffins converted their free throws down the stretch and emerged from the rivalry battle with a 58-52 victory.

Liferidge was proud of the character displayed by his team in the win.

“The game was a hard fought game and we overcame some adversity in the first half to pull out a huge win for our ball club,” said Liferidge. “I’m extremely proud of the way we fought.”

The Griffins are slated to take on Columbia High School in their next contest on Jan. 10.

FC – Keith Workman-22, Dequan Weldon-3, Jalyn Davis-8, Brandon Adams-2, Daniel Maple-5, Shadarius Hopkins-2, Victor Alston-2, Chanti Jones-2, Javahnne Neal-8, Byron Sampson-4.

CHS – John Gore-16, Shyheim Wilson-11, Tommy Sanders-12, Caldwell-7, Rambert-6, Williams-1.