CERRO GORDO — The Fairmont boys basketball team didn’t get the message.
After losing a triple overtime thriller to West Columbus in December, the Golden Tornadoes and Vikings were set to give the fans another classic contest on Friday night in Cerro Gordo.
Instead, the Tornadoes sent out a warning to the rest of the Three Rivers Conference with a 68-22 pounding at West Columbus.
The seven-time league champions dominated from start to finish in front of a hostile crowd, leading by as many as 46 points on the night before pulling its starters with a running clock in the final five minutes.
“I just wanted us to come out and play harder than we did the first time,” said Fairmont coach Montrell McNair.
“The first time we played them, they killed us on the boards and they played with a lot more energy. I think we brought more energy than the first time.”
Javon Morris helped the Golden Tornadoes (13-1, 7-1 TRC) set the tempo from the start with his energy en route to scoring a game-high 22 points against the Vikings (12-2, 7-1).
“We knew we were down in the conference and we saw that they were undefeated. We had to step up and play big,” said Morris, who also logged six steals.
“We came out and hustled from the start like Coach Tron told us too with full-court pressure, locking them down. I came back, helped my team and tried to play my role.”“
The Golden Tornadoes, who have won 10 straight games since the home loss to West Columbus, limited Lees-McRae commit Jake Brownlee to six points on the night. Brownlee scored 28 points and pulled down 28 rebounds in the first meeting between the teams.
McNair was impressed.
“It ranks up there with the best of them, defensive-wise,” he said. “I think everyone came in and did their job. They talked a little more on defense than they normally do.”
Corry Addison scored just six points, but logged a double-double with 10 assists and 10 steals. Sidney McKeithan finished with 12 points.
Morris, who missed the first meeting because he was sick, scored 10 of his points in the first half, including eight points in a 23-5 second period for the Golden Tornadoes.
Fairmont led 35-11 at the break and never looked back, limiting the Vikings to single digits in each of the four quarters.
“He had a great week of practice,” McNair said of Morris. “He got sick twice so it was hard for him to get his energy back. This is the healthiest he’s been this year. It turned out to be his best game.”
Fairmont started the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 61-18 lead with 5:52 left to play. McNair took out his starters after McKeithan’s 15-foot jumper gave the visitors a 43-point advantage.
“We’re going to continue to play defense and compete,” McNair said. “I try not to look ahead at anything. We just want to compete at a high level.”
Lady Tornadoes fall short in final seconds
Despite another 20-20 performance by Kiara Page, the Fairmont girls basketball team dropped a 50-47 contest at West Columbus on Friday.
Page finished with 25 points and 20 rebounds for the Lady Tornadoes (7-7, 5-3 TRC), who were outscored 18-13 by the Lady Vikings (8-7, 5-3) in the final period.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.