Boys Varsity Basketball
|Fairfax High School||50|
|Robinson Secondary School||49|
Whew!!! I have never used so many pencils in one game! Playing on home ice at the LIP, in front of an enthusiastic and sizeable group of Wowdie Wooters, Fairfax took on the Robinson Rams in a key Patriot District match-up. When the teams met earlier in the season, the Rebels let one slip from their grasp and they were determined not to let that happen again. Well, it did almost happen again, but the Rebs made a few plays near the end, sank just enough free throws (though 1 more earlier in the game could have avoided the necessity to use so much lead), and ultimately came away with a 50-49 win in double overtime.
The Rebels had things working in the first period, methodically going through their progressions and finding good shots. There is a difference though between finding good shots and making good shots. The home team shot only 5-14 in the period, but with the defense limiting Robinson's opportunities, they still led 10-4 at the end of the period despite their inability to zero in on the correct range. Little Ricky, playing much bigger lately, hit both of his shots, while Abtew, Napper and Ackerman each tallied once. The 2nd period was no better (3-10), though Hackerman did hit both of his shots and Quez registered on his only attempt. Looked like it was going to be another low-scoring, grind-it-out affair, with Fairfax leading at halftime by the modest score of 16-12. The Rebels committed an uncharacteristically low 4 fouls in the entire half (half of them by Hackerman), while the Rams committed an unheard-of 1 measly transgression. Boy would that change in the 2nd half.
The scoring pace picked up somewhat in the 3rd period, with Fairfax knocking down 5 of their 8 shots, and with a little more than 2 minutes remaining in the period they had built their lead up to 8 points, 26-18. But the Rams finished out the period on a mini 5-2 burst and trailed by 5 heading into the 4th quarter, 23-28. Mbangue and Abousam hit three-pointers and Peters, Twister and HackySack each had two-pointers to account for all the Rebels' points.
At the table, there was a sense of uneasiness and as the 4th period began, so did the incessant fouling. Robinson's big man got more involved in the action and when he hit the 2nd of 2 free throws, he brought his team to within 31-32. Josh drove the lane to up it to 34-31 Rebels but the Rams knotted things up at 34 with a 3-pointer just prior to the buzzer. Fairfax called time out with one-half a tick remaining in the game. But the guys couldn't execute the desperation attempt off the in-bounds and the Rams batted the ball away. Josh's 2 pointer was the Rebs' only hoop of the entire 4th period, but that's not to say that they didn't have plenty of chances to put the game away. It's just that those chances all came from the free throw line. But they could only put the ball in the basket 4 times in 14 4th period charity attempts. Consequently the game was even-steven at 34 at the end of regulation. Time for some bonus action!
Robinson scored 5 out of the first 6 points of overtime to go up 39-35. The Rebels then countered with the next 5 points, topped off by Abtew hitting one of his special long-distance dedications, to regain the lead 40-39. KC then got fouled in the double-bonus situation but only succeeded on the 2nd free throw, taking the lead to 41-39. When the Rams' big guy hit both of his free throws, the first OT ended with the score tied again, this time at 41. Time for some bonus bonus action!
Given what you know about the Rebels' usual free throw shooting, if I told you that Fairfax did not make a single basket in the 2nd overtime and that their only makes came from free throws, would you guess that they won? Well, you'd be dead wrong. After halftime, the Rams committed an unbelievable 25 (!) fouls and the Rebels lived at the line for the entire 2nd OT, taking 16 attempts on the 8-fouls-in-4-minutes performance by the Rams. Fairfax scored the 1st 5 points to assume a 46-41 lead. 2 free throws for the Rams ( hey, the Rebels committed 17 fouls in the 2nd half themselves) took them to 43-46 before Got-Hacked-erman sank 1 of 2 to make it 47-43. A 70's-style 3-point play brought Robinson back to 46-47 and that was still the score when Coach B used his 7th and final TO with 18.7 seconds remaining. Chase had been fouled and once again he made just the 1st of 2, such that the lead now stood at 48-46. Somehow MDaniel ended up with the ball and, guess what? He was fouled! And he made both shots! For what seemed like just a fraction of a second, the home team held a 50-46 lead. Until the Rams bolted downcourt and sank a three-ball from the elbow pocket, giving their team new life and only a 1-point deficit at 49-50. To be honest, I can't tell from the scorebook how the Rams got the ball again but they did and they called timeouts with 4.2 and again with 3.5 seconds remaining. They drew up some sort of game-winning scheme in the last huddle and inbounded the ball when play resumed. Only to be stymied by a super-human effort from Aziz, who wrested the inbounds pass away in mid-air from its intended recipient and threw the ball in the air while the game clock finally hit zero. What a play! Game over. Rebels win!
Leading scorers for the Rebs were Chase Ackerman and Daniel Mbangue with 10 each. MCool MHand MDaniel hit 5 out of his 6 free throws in the 2nd overtime, all of them pressure-packed. Abtew had 8 and Aziz and the Human Tornado each had 7. Daniel and Quez tied for team high with 6 rebounds, KC, as usual, led with 7 assists, Quez had 2 blocks and 2 steals and Daniel recorded a career-high 5 pilfers.
With the win, Fairfax runs their record to 4-3 in the District, 12-7 overall. There is 1 more road game in the regular season and it occurs next Tuesday, as the Rebs head into the lion's den, or, more properly, the Bruins den to take on the high-flying, Lake Braddock Bruins. Fairfax has never played there during the regular season. It will be a tough challenge, but the boys will be ready and they hope you will join them in the effort to pull off the upset. So do I. Leave work early to beat the traffic. See ya.