Fayette was outscored by North Central 13-2 in the third quarter to go behind 36-18 at home in boys basketball Thursday. And although they would pull to within five on multiple occasions in the fourth, they never could get over the hump as North Central led wire-to-wire in their 48-40 victory.
“Our defense had several mental breakdowns that put us behind the eight ball,” explained Fayette coach Todd Mitchell. “We didn’t start the game with the intensity, effort, and focus necessary to win a varsity basketball game. When we picked up the effort in the fourth quarter it was too late.”
The North Central lead was just 6-5 after quarter number one. North Central’s Nick Henry then scored seven points in the first two minutes of the second, Fayette’s Drake Bowditch split a pair of free throws, and Josh Roesener added a bucket along the baseline for North Central to give them a 15-6 advantage at the 6:03 mark.
Fayette got the margin down to five later in the quarter after baskets from Trey Keefer, Clayton Pheils, and Bowditch, but Roesener scored with 45 seconds left to make it 23-16 at the half.
The visiting Eagles used a pair of three-pointers from Cody Tomblin and one for Roesener, along with four more points from Roesener to open up a 36-18 advantage after three quarters. Fayette’s only bucket was a deuce from Keefer off a backdoor cut with 2:24 left in the frame.
However, Fayette held North Central scoreless for over four minutes into the fourth as they trimmed the difference to five.
Pheils started the run with a three 44 seconds in, then Keefer scored inside, and Travis Wagner and Pheils tacked on another triple each. Grant Reinking’s bucket for Fayette made it 36-31 with 4:03 to go before Henry got North Central back on the board with a pair at the line.
Fayette then got a basket from Tharyn Colegrove, but he missed his chance to tack on a free throw as he was fouled on the play. They also drew fouls their next two times down the floor, but both players missed the front-ends of a 1-and-1 which could have made it a one possession game.
“We missed a lot of shots and really struggled at the foul line (3 of 11),” said Mitchell.
Kaleb Geiser of North Central and Keefer then traded baskets, but a three-point play by Steven Williams and 1 of 2 free throws for Tomblin extended the North Central lead to 44-35 with just 1:02 remaining. This was too big of a deficit for Fayette to overcome.
Pheils led Fayette with 15 points, while Keefer chipped in with 10. Henry scored 16 and Roesener 13 for North Central (4-11, 2-5 BBC).
Fayette then dropped a 57-55 decision in three overtimes at home against Holgate on Saturday. Pheils had 16 points and Wagner 15 for the Eagles.
Fayette (5-9, 3-5) is at Swanton Tuesday in non-league play.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010