Mulletts were made famous in the 1980s while the hi-Top fade decorated the Fab Five at Michigan in the early 90s.
Apparently, a well-groomed strip of hair down the middle is the new fad for the state’s top-ranked 2A basketball team.
Led by a group of guards with bizarre haircuts and a veteran coach with championship experience, the Fairmont Golden Tornadoes look to be the team to beat in the region after starting the season 11-0.
Fairmont is pasting the competition with a combination of pressure defense and an offense that can score points in a hurry in transition. Juwan Addison ranks second in the county in scoring at 17.5 points per game while Charlton Townsend leads the area in rebounds at 10.5 per contest.
Coach Michael Baker, who captured a state championship at Fairmont in 1993, likes his team’s chances in the postseason due to experience and defensive intensity. The Golden Tornadoes started the season in impressive fashion, reeling off six straight wins — including the Shootout title — before the turn of the new year. Since returning from winter break, Fairmont has won five straight game by an average of 28.2 points per game. The Golden Tornadoes battle South Robeson in Fairmont Friday night.
TITLE SHOT — FAIRMONT BOYS
Ranking among the state leaders in points per game and points allowed per game, the unbeaten Fairmont boys basketball team is in unfamilar territory for a hoops team in Robeson County — ranked No. 1. Coach Michael Baker uses all 12 players on his roster and uses them at a frantic pace. Fairmont’s 32 minutes of fast break basketball has worn out its opponents.
BEST GAME — BOYS SHOOTOUT FINAL
It was David vs. Goliath. A small 2A school vs. the big 4A school. In the end, in front of the biggest crowd to watch a Robeson County Shootout final, Fairmont stood tall and turned back Terry Sanford 72-64. M.V.P. Juwan Addison led the way with 21 points, while Desmond Parker chipped in with 17.
BEST DUNK — ALEX GILCHRIST ON RED SPRINGS
People are still standing in their seats after Fairmont’s Alex Gilchrist threw down the most vicious alley-oop in the county this season at Red Springs on Jan. 14. Gilchrist sprinted to down the right side of the lane after a steal and caught a precision lob from Juwan Addison for the dunk. Gilchrist is one of the more athletic players in the county and certainly showed his talents on that particular fast-break jam.
BEST TEAM(S) — FAIRMONT BOYS, SOUTH ROBESON GIRLS
Both Three Rivers Conference representatives are eyeing No. 1 seeds in the state playoffs. Last year, the Mustangs rode their seeding all the way to Greenville and the East Regionals, while the Golden Tornadoes advanced to the sectional finals, falling by a point.
MOST VALUABLE — JUWAN ADDISON, NICORIE SINCLAIR
The senior guards fuel the county’s best teams. Addison has the ability to break down the opposition on either end of the court, while Sinclair’s speed allows her to outrun the defense for layups. Her addition of the 3-point shot makes her difficult to contain.
BIGGEST MYSTERIES — LUMBERTON, BOYS and GIRLS
The Lumberton girls were expected to be in prime position to not only defend their Robeson County Shootout title from last season, but also their Southeastern Conference co-championship. Despite the return of Jensine Alvarez, one of the region’s best, and the 3-point capability of Raven Bowden, the Pirates got off to an 0-2 start in league play. Coach Danny Graham may have righted the ship, as Lumberton has reeled off three straight wins. On the boys side, Ted Gaskins has to wonder what he needs to do to get his Pirates a win. Without Gaskins on the sideline during the non-conference schedule, Lumberton struggled and posted double-digit losses. Since Gaskins’ return, the Pirates have yet to blend together.