WEST POINT —
Fairview coach Greg Boatright has never known his team to quit in the face of adversity.
And, after Wednesday’s night game against West Morgan, his team didn’t let him down.
The Aggies (10-4) rode the hot 3-point shooting of Andy Hendrix and Peter Kessler to erase a 12-point fourth quarter deficit and secure a thrilling 79-77 win over the Rebels in the first round of the West Point Classic.
“We didn’t quit,” Boatright said. “That’s the only reason we won tonight. If we had quit at any point during the second half, we would have gotten blown off the court.”
Trailing by double digits with just over six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Aggies started to chip away against a scrappy Rebel D.
Buckets by Hendrix, Kessler and Blake Parker trimmed the Rebel lead down to five points with just under four to play.
Luke Bailey stole the show on the next two Aggie possessions, scoring six points, including a four-point play, to give the Purple and Gold their first lead of the second half, 67-66.
The Rebels, however, answered quickly with a bucket of their own to retake the lead.
The junior guard buried a 3-pointer with 2:39 on the clock to give the Aggies a two-point lead.
“It was good ball movement by my teammates,” Hendrix said of his go-ahead 3-pointer. “I just made the shot.”
On the ensuing Rebel possession, Fairview forced a turnover and, once again, it was Hendrix who found himself in the middle of the action, finishing on the other end with an three-point play to extend the Aggie advantage to five points.
“Just making plays,” Hendrix added.
West Morgan did not go away, however, as star player Montel Glenn made a couple of baskets to keep the Rebels within striking distance.
The Aggies had a chance to ice the game, but a couple of Parker misses at the foul line gave the Rebels one last chance to tie it.
Fortunately for Fairview, Glenn’s layup attempt on the other end came up just short as time expired, allowing the Aggies to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate their victory.
“I told them in the huddle to keep fighting,” Boatright said. “I’m certainly proud that I have a fighting bunch.”
Kessler led all Aggie scorers with 22 points, while Hendrix contributed 20 of his own.
Parker was large with 18 points, and Bailey netted 13.
Fairview will return to the court tonight to take on Priceville.
% West Point 66, Brewer 45: The host Warriors easily dispatched the Patriots in earlier play, thanks in part to a 23-point performance from guard Jordan McKenzie.
West Point (12-4) shook off a rusty first-half performance, outscoring the Patriots 21-3 in the third frame to turn a close game into a runaway victory.
The relentless pressure defense that coach Randy Jones institutes was a big reason for it.
“We are an uptempo team,” Jones said. “We like to turn defense into offense, and we were able to do that really well in the second half.”
Josh Looney and Tristan Dubberly contributed 10 points apiece to join McKenzie as the Warriors’ double-digit scorers.
Teammates Ryder Jones and Wesley Smith added seven and six points each, respectively.
The Warriors will take on Danville tonight.
% Cold Springs 72, Danville 48: The Eagles soared on the offensive end of the court, netting eight 3-pointers to roll over the Hawks by a large margin.
Cold Springs moved to 10-4 overall with the win.
Freshman Triston Chambers had the hot hand for the Eagles, scoring 26 points.
Other Eagle contributors were Layne Rice, 14 points; Josh Freeman, 10; Mason Harris, eight, and Brandon Whaley, five.
Cold Springs takes on Lawrence County today.
% Lawrence County 59, Good Hope 42: The Raiders lost the opening game of the West Point Classic with a 17-point loss to the Red Devils.
No stats were known for this game.
Good Hope will look to rebound against West Morgan today.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at email@example.com.