Blackbirds edge Fayette, 46-38

By Randy Roberts - For the Expositor

Opening right away with a league game, Pettisville welcomed Fayette into the Birdcage and took an important first step in the Buckeye Border Conference race with a 46-38 win over Fayette to start the boys basketball season Friday.

The Blackbirds took an early 12-point lead and were never seriously threatened in the game.

“We started the way we wanted to start,” Pettisville coach Brian Leppelmeier said of the opening minutes of the game. “We rebounded the basketball and our guys wanted to get out and run. They made great decisions with the basketball.”

Pettisville led 19-10 after one period and pushed the lead back into double digits in the second stanza. Fayette caught a break and looked to end the half with a big play when Clayton Pheils came up with a steal and score with 6.8 seconds left in the half to close the gap to 28-20. However, Pettisville’s Justin Rupp, who had the ball taken away on the play, atoned for the mistake and dropped in a long trey as the halftime horn sounded to push the lead back to double digits at the half.

“(I’m) not real happy with the turnover at midcourt,” admitted Leppelmeier. “But Justin has done that a couple of times. We’ll take those (shots). We’ve been lucky to get those to fall.”

The combination of Dillon King and Graeme Jacoby worked well for a basket in the third period for the Blackbirds. Landon Roth sandwiched a pair of three-point plays around a triple from Fayette’s Grant Reinking to make the score 44-29 after three periods.

“Once we were patient and get our high-low look, we were able to get the ball inside,” added Leppelmeier. “Fayette was taking that away. They did it last spring in the tournament game. Sometimes we were a little impatient and tried to force it.”

Detric Yoder stared the final period with an off-balance triple and King scored back-to-back baskets to extend the lead to 53-29 with 5:09 left. The Eagles closed the game on a 9-3 run to make the final 56-38.

King led a balanced Blackbird attack with 13 points. Rupp added nine points and Landon Roth and Canidate Vickery each added eight. Pheils led Fayette with 13 points and Trey Keefer chipped in 12.

Fayette returns to the court Thursday at home with North Central in the Buckeye Border Conference.

Pettisville wrapped up a perfect opening weekend as the Blackbirds jumped out to a 15-2 lead in the opening quarter in a 34-25 win over Tinora Saturday.

Yoder had seven of those first-quarter points and finished with 10 points in the game.

Pettisville (2-0) visits Edon Thursday in a BBC clash.

By Randy Roberts

For the Expositor

Reach Randy Roberts at

Reach Randy Roberts at