FAIRMONT — To Fairmont boys basketball coach Montrell McNair, there’s not too many things that look better on a basketball court than an active defense.
On Tuesday, the Golden Tornadoes’ defense was pleasing to what their head coach likes to see, opening the game swarming the ball and cutting off driving lanes against South Columbus. The result was Fairmont’s defense allowing the second fewest points in a game this season in an 81-34 Three Rivers Conference win at home.
“It’s exciting. I love to see that because they get a thrill out of it when they are scoring and the other team is not scoring,” McNair said. “They get excited on the floor and that gets me excited.”
Fairmont (19-1, 13-1 TRC) locked in its 16th straight win since falling to West Columbus back in early December. Last season, Fairmont won 17 straight before losing in the third round of the state playoffs.
In the first and fourth quarters, the Golden Tornadoes held South Columbus (10-9, 6-8 TRC) to single digit point totals with the Stallions posting four in the first quarter and five point in the fourth. In those two periods, Fairmont surrendered two total field goals.
Fairmont opened up an 11-0 lead in the first six minutes before South Columbus posted any points on the board.
“That was the focus to play solid defense because the last time we played at their place we let them down the lane a lot and shot a lot of free throws,” McNair said. “I felt like awe did a good job tonight keeping them out of the lane and contesting shots.”
Leading Fairmont’s offense was Jayvon Morris with 21 points in the post and the hot shooting of Derrick Arnette on the perimeter with five 3-pointers for 17 points. Corry Addison directed with the offense with 13 assists.
The Golden Tornadoes bench accounted for 32 points, led by Brent McDonald and Jaquan Hinson with 13 points apiece. The scoring lift on the bench, much like the defense, is coming along at the right time according to McNair as it inches closer to the postseason.
“That’s important coming down the stretch because we will need him,” he said of players like Hinson. “With the schedule like that, you need players like him. And you never know, we are always one injury away.”
Fairmont travels to Red Springs on Friday, after South Columbus travels to Red Springs tonight.
South Columbus closes off Fairmont girls
A second-half comeback from the Fairmont girls basketball was halted in the final minute as South Columbus hit the go-ahead basket with 10 seconds left to claim a 44-41 road win.
Sarah Faulk’s bucket in the closing second gave her a team-high 11 points to put the Lady Stallions (2-15, 2-12 TRC) up 43-41 after Fairmont erased a 21-13 halftime lead and took the lead on several occasions in the fourth quarter.
Krishay Moore scored 10 points to lead Fairmont’s offensive night, along with eight points from Tatyaina Gaddy and seven points from Sariyah Thompson. Mya Bellamy pulled down 15 rebounds.
Haley Rising had 26 boards for the Lady Stallions.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.