Golden Tornadoes advance to semifinals

By: By Jack Frederick - Correspondent

FAIRMONT — After a triple overtime loss to West Columbus two days ago, the Fairmont boys’ basketball team couldn’t wait for an opportunity to bounce back. Just two days later, they received their wish and ran with it in a dominant 80-43 win over Lake View in the opening round of the Robeson County Shootout.

“They came out with some energy and a little bit of vengeance after losing a game like that to a conference opponent,” head coach Montrell McNair said. “They felt like they wanted to improve themselves for the fans after letting them down on Monday.”

The game against West Columbus on Monday snapped a 16-game conference win streak stretching back to January of last season. The Golden Tornadoes (7-1, 4-1 TRC) decided after that ended, they weren’t ready yet to give up another streak — as they are now in search of a third-straight Shootout title over county opponents.

“We don’t want to lose anymore,” point guard Corry Addison said. “We hate the feeling of losing and we hate that memory playing in our head.”

They chased that hate of losing against the Gators in an overwhelming first quarter characterized by high-flying dunks and solid team basketball that reshifted the momentum and built a lead that would eventually carry them the rest of the way. In the first eight minutes, eight of the team’s 13 players contributed from the field including Addison, who built on a four-point quarter to lead the rest of the way.

Addison finished with a double-double of 18 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and four steals. Although his final stat line was impressive on the offensive end, he said that defense was his focus and the main focus of the whole team. The offensive production just fell into place when the team connected on defense.

Defense has been a way Addison has lead the team all season, and his coach said it’s what allowed him to play so well against the Gators.

“He’s averaging about eight steals a game and that’s out of this world,” McNair said. “He’s doing a good job of being in the right spot at the right time.”

Addison had a team-high four steals on the game that contributed to a 23-steal effort for the Tornadoes. A host of steals created more offensive opportunities and allowed Addison’s teammates to get their own touches as well. In the end, 11 of his 13 teammates scored, including Derrick Arnette who had 13 points of his own.

The team was looking for that kind of recovery win to regain its composure in a tournament they’ve dominated over the last couple of years. They will continue the search for another Shootout title on Friday when they face Red Springs, who advanced to the next round after squeaking past Purnell Swett in a one-point victory. They can’t move on to other opponents or a chance to close out another title without first facing an in-conference foe.

“It’s a big game,” Addison said. “We need to come to play on both ends of the court.”

In the girls game, Kiara Page logged 47 points and 24 rebounds in Fairmont’s 73-62 win over Lake View on Wednesday in the opening round of the Robeson County Shootout.

Page helped the Lady Tornadoes (5-3) score 20-plus points in the final two quarters for the difference. Kiona Page added 10 points for Fairmont, which will host Red Springs on Friday in the semifinals.

Zandasia McNeil scored 24 points to lead three Lake View players in double figures. Olivia McDaniel had 12 points and Janiya Waters added 11 points.

By Jack Frederick