BRYAN – Fayette closed the first quarter on an 11-0 run – using three treys at the spark – to beat Montpelier 45-22 in a Division IV boys basketball sectional semifinal Tuesday at Bryan.
The Eagles will now face a second Buckeye Border Conference team in Pettisville for the right to advance to the district tournament.
Trailing 5-2, Noah Brinegar got Fayette started with a triple from the corner. Tanner Lemley and Trey Keefer dropped in treys around a Keefer lay-up to help the Eagles to a 13-5 lead by the end of the period.
“I could tell we were a little tight starting off,” mentioned Fayette coach Todd Mitchell. “After they scored a couple buckets, we got a little more tight, then we went on a run. We had a couple defensive breakdowns, but overall I was happy with our effort.”
The Fayette defense did the rest. Collin Houk scored on a weakside putback basket with 6:01 left in the half for Montpelier, which was their only basket of the period. Clayton Pheils added two treys in the final 5:30 of the half, including a half court runner at the horn, as the Eagles led 26-8 at the half.
“It opened things up for us a little bit,” Mitchell said of his team’s ability to shoot the ball from behind the arc. “They were putting pressure on (Clayton) Pheils, trying to take him away. Noah Brinegar and Tanner Wagner hit a couple 3’s for us.”
The two teams traded points in the third period as Fayette kept its 20-point lead. Tylor Yahraus dropped in a trey from the top of the key and Blake Bumb scored off a steal as Montpelier scored back-to-back baskets for the first time in the game to start the final stanza.
That was as close as the Locos got, as Fayette outscored Montpelier 6-2 the rest of the way to get the 45-22 win.
Brinegar and Pheils led a balanced Fayette attack with 11 points each. Keefer added 9 and Lemley had 8 points.
Montpelier was held to 8 of 26 shooting with 13 turnovers. Fayette was 15 of 31 shooting with seven makes from behind the arc.
“We had a few breakdowns we have to clean up for Friday night,” said Mitchell. “We lost guys a couple times defensively, we can’t do that Friday. We got stuck behind their big on the post a couple times. Overall, I was happy with our defense.”
Fayette moves on to face Pettisville.
“They say it’s hard to beat someone three times,” Mitchell said of facing the Blackbirds, who swept Fayette in a pair of regular-season match-ups. “That’s always been the team that’s lost twice. We’ll have to play a clean game Friday night. It’ll have to be a team effort.
The sectional final is Friday at 6:15 at Bryan.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org