Fairland girls give coach a 40th-birthday win over Coal Grove
ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Allie Marshall led the celebration of Fairland girls basketball coach Jon Buchanan’s 40th birthday Thursday, gifting him 18 points and 13 rebounds in the Dragons’ 66-51 victory over Coal Grove.
“They gave me a hard time about being 40,” Buchanan said after his Dragons (1-2 overall, 1-1 Ohio Valley Conference) defeated the Hornets (1-2, 1-1) in the Carl York Center.
Fairland gave Coal Grove a hard time early, jumping to a 14-2 lead that expanded to 41-17 by halftime as guard Harlie Lyons scored 16 points. Bailey Roland’s put-back with 3:56 left in the third quarter gave the Dragons their largest lead, at 48-21.
Coal Grove then began a furious comeback, as Abbie Hicks’ two free throws sparked a 24-6 run that pulled the Hornets within 54-45 with 4:46 left in the game. A Dragons turnover gave Coal Grove a chance to pull within six, but the Hornets couldn’t convert. Emma Marshall, Allie’s sister, scored from the block and Jenna Stone followed with a free throw to help Fairland pull away down the stretch.
Buchanan was a calming force on his team as Coal Grove made its run.
“He told us not to panic, to stop the ball and not allow easy shots,” Allie Marshall said.
The Dragons did just that, tightening their defense and slowing the pace not only to take time, but to work for better shots. Fairland’s last seven field goals came from close range, a stark departure from the first half when the Dragons swished seven 3-pointers and hit 16 of 27 shots to build the big lead.
Coal Grove adjusted to contain Lyons, holding her scoreless in the second half, but Stone and Emma Marshall were key in the final 16 minutes. Stone scored six of her 10 points in the final two quarters and Marshall scored six of her seven. Those performances were big, as Allie Marshall spent more than eight minutes on the bench in foul trouble.
“Emma’s coming along,” Buchanan said of the sophomore guard. “She played really well this summer. And how many more points and rebounds could Allie have had if she hadn’t been in foul trouble? She played well.”
Allie Marshall, a senior who has signed to play at Cedarville University, said she sees a hunger in Emma she didn’t observe last season.
“Emma got playing time as a freshman, but she wanted to get more and she’s worked hard for that,” Allie Marshall said. “She’s worked hard on her ball handling and shooting all summer.”
Addi Dillow led the Hornets with 18 points. The sophomore guard impressed Buchanan.
“She’s such a good player,” Buchanan said. “Her hesitation move is so good. She’ll have her back to the basket, make that move and gets an open shot. It’s not easy to keep her in front of you.”
Bailey McKnight scored 13 points for Coal Grove, which returns to action against Gallia Academy at 7:30 p.m. Monday at home.
Fairland is back on the court against South Webster at 6 p.m. Saturday at home in the Big E Classic.
COAL GROVE 7 10 19 15 — 51: Dillow 18, McKnight 13, Murphy 9, Hicks 6, Dolan 5.
FAIRLAND 21 20 11 14 — 66: E. Marshall 7, Lyons 16, Roland 7, A. Marshall 18, Warnock 8, Stone 10.