First Half Hole too Deep for Griffins

Chandon Davis (12) looks on as the rebound slips away from Da’von Peoples (24). (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

COLUMBIA – Three baskets.

Six points was all the Fairfield Central boys basketball team could muster in the second quarter Tuesday night, while Columbia was hard at work building a 26-13 halftime lead.

“I kind of felt like we got hit first tonight, and we picked up our energy later in the game,” Fairfield Central head coach Devin Liferidge said.

Even with their anemic start to their game at Columbia High, the Griffins very nearly closed that gap in the second half. But the Capitals extinguished the Griffins’ fire and walked away with a 61-48 Region III-2A victory.

That 13-point margin of victory goes directly back to that halftime lead, Liferidge explained.

“We challenged our kids after the game that you have to play with that energy (in the later quarters) in the first and second quarters,” he said. “If you’re going to play in this region, that’s pretty wide open, you’re going to have to play with that intensity from the jump ball.”

Dequan Weldon led the Griffins with 14 points. Brandon Adams put up 12.

While neither team could get a good footing in the first half, Columbia out-rebounded the Griffins 29-19 over the next three quarters, which kept the game in the Capitals’ favor.

“They’re huge, give them credit. Coach (Mark) Kirlough did a great job as far as putting them in the right situations,” Liferidge said. “But our best lineup is probably our smallest lineup. It’s probably to our advantage to be a fast-paced game. But if we get into a half-court knock-down, drag-out, it’s not going to play to our advantage.”

Noting that, the Griffins (5-6, 1-2) tried to speed up the tempo in the second half and found some success.

Adams’ 3-pointer to start the second half ignited Fairfield Central’s comeback attempt. Over the next six minutes, the Griffins slowly crept toward the Capitals on the scoreboard.

With the Griffins down 34-25, Chandon Davis scored back-to-back baskets and made the front end of a two-shot foul to get his team to within 34-30 with 1:52 to go in the third.

Unfortunately for Fairfield Central, the Capitals’ Avery Gilliam and Terry House closed out the third quarter with a 3-pointer apiece to make it 42-32 Columbia.

Keeping up with the Capitals was not easy, Liferidge said. In the end, his team may have just run out of gas.

“We tried to speed the game up a little bit and that put us into some scramble situations that we couldn’t rotate cleanly out of,” he said.

Fairfield Central kept even in scoring throughout the final quarter, but couldn’t cut into the lead with any significance.

Raedwan Williams came off the bench for the Caps and drained a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in the game to make it 61-45. The roar of the crowd on that basket completely drowned out Weldon’s meaningless but equally impressive three at the buzzer.

House led all scorers with 19 points, including four of his team’s eight 3-pointers on the night.

Columbia 61, FCHS 48

FCHS: 7-6-19-16 – 48

Columbia: 8-18-14-19 – 61

FC – Dequan Weldon 14, Brandon Adams 12, Davis 8, Hopkins 7, Richards 4, Peoples 2, Richmond 1. C – Terry House 18, Bryan Armstrong 10, Gilliam 9, Blocker 9, Snipes 6, R. Williams 3, Hurth 3, M. Williams 1.