We’ve said it again and again, almost to the point where it’s repetitive like “Groundhog Day.”
If you play for Todd Mitchell at Fayette, you better play hard.
One thing a groundhog does, is burrow until it gets to its appointed destination — in the Eagles’ case was the rim — which they did over and over in the first half, burrowing to a 15-point lead in a 57-36 rout over Montpelier Thursday in boys basketball.
“That was our game plan,” Mitchell said of the Eagles’ repeated runs to the rim. “We told the guys if we can get the ball reversed a couple of times we should be able to get to the rim and with our athleticism we were able to do that.”
After a Garrett Walz 3-pointer gave Montpelier a lead in the first 16 seconds, the Eagles rolled to the rim to score 13 of the next 16 points.
Skylar Lester scored off a feed from Wyatt Mitchell and putback two Eagle misses for more hoops.
Elijah Lerma had a steal and score, then got to the basket with a left-handed drive and Quinn Mitchell laced a right-side triple for a 13-6 lead.
David Bowman’s stickback brought the Locos to within 17-12 early in the second but Lerma answered back with three baskets of his own, going to the cup each time.
“I’m glad he’s on our team,” Mitchell said of Lerma. “I would not want to game plan against him and he has his teammates out there that he’s willing to share the ball with.”
Quinn Mitchell curled left to right for a fourth score and Kaden Frenn nailed a long-range bomb to increase the Eagle advantage to 28-12 before they settled for a 32-17 halftime margin on Lester’s third score off the offensive glass in the first half.
Fayette sizzled from the field, going 15-27 in the half for 56 percent and forced 10 Locomotive turnovers.
Frenn wasn’t done from outside the arc as the stocky senior knocked down two more from long range, then scored on a three-point play in the third to help the Eagles go up 20 (47-27) at the end of three.
Chase Moats’ jumper 36 seconds into the fourth gave the Eagles their biggest lead at 22, and Demetrius Whiteside kept the margin above 20 with a backcut layup with a minute left.
“We had a couple good runs,” Mitchell said. “We got sloppy in the fourth quarter where we didn’t rebound the ball and didn’t execute well offensively. We defended well for the most part and did a good job on Walz. He had been shooting the ball pretty well this year and I think we frustrated him somewhat.”
For the game Fayette shot 25-53 while Montpelier was 15-47.
Lerma led the Eagles with 23 points while Frenn added 12 and Lester chalked up a double-double with 10 and 11 boards.
Walz was the only Loco in double figures with 10.
However, Fayette was defeated 47-25 on the road at Fairview Saturday. Lerma and Quinn Mitchell had eight points apiece for the Eagles (3-1).
Fayette now travels to Montpelier this Thursday for a Buckeye Border Conference matchup and hosts Hilltop on Saturday.