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Fairland girls seek district championship

March 4, 2018 GMT

ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — If North Adams has any surprises for Fairland in Saturday’s girls high school basketball game, Dragons coach Jon Buchanan will be, well, surprised.

The No. 2 seed Green Devils (20-3) play top-seeded Fairland (22-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Waverly Downtown Arena in the Division III Waverly District championship game. The winner advances to the regional tournament to play either Berlin Hiland or Sugarcreek Garaway at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Logan High School.

“With a week off between games, we know what they do and they know what we do, so we have to do a good job defending,” Buchanan said.

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Buchanan said he thinks the team that executes better, especially as far as defense and rebounding goes, will have the edge. That formula worked for the Dragons in the district semifinals in a 61-34 victory over Wheelersburg, which averaged 55 points per game for the season.

“I always say defense and rebounding is where you have to focus, especially in the tournament,” Buchanan said. “Nerves can get you and maybe the offense is off.”

Fairland senior guard Emily Chapman, who averages 19.3 points, 5.7 assists, 3.9 steals and 2.9 rebounds per game, agreed.

“When the shots aren’t falling, you can still play defense,” Chapman said.

Chapman has committed to Cedarville University and fellow senior Alesha Simpson is headed to West Virginia University Tech. Simpson, senior Taylar Wilson and junior Allie Marshall are all at least 6 feet tall and are joined in the starting lineup by Kelsie Warnock, a 5-8 junior. All likely will need to play well against North Adams, which is seeking its first district title and is led by 6-2 center Avery Harper, a University of Rio Grande signee. The Dragons have won two district championships in the last five years and seven consecutive sectional titles.

Green Devils coach Rob Davis agreed with Buchanan that the week to prepare means a team should know its opponent well. That was the case in North Adams’ 38-37 triumph over Ironton in the district semifinals last week.

“As the old saying goes, they put their pants on the same way we do,” Davis told “The People’s Defender,” a newspaper in Adams County, Ohio. “We will have a week to prepare and we will see what we can do. They’ve got a good team. There’s a reason for them being a number one seed. It’s time for us to get that district championship.”

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