State Tournament: Skyhawks put up battle, Polar Bears pull away
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Travon Horton scored 17 points in the Class AA 2 vs. 7 quarterfinals matchup and led his Fairmont Senior team to a 55-48 victory over Scott.
The last two points came on a breakaway exclamation point dunk with under a minute to play.
"We knew they liked to push it up and down the floor," Scott Coach Nick Cabell said. "One of our main focuses was to get back on defense and just try to keep them in a half-court game."
Scott did just that for three quarters.
At the end of the first half, Scott trailed Fairmont Senior 20-18 in a defensive battle.
The Polar Bears had just two points in transition.
"They did a great job of getting their defense set," Fairmont Senior Coach David Retton said.
"I don't think we did a good job of attacking it."
Scott held the Polar Bears to 6-for-25 in the first half. While the Scott defense made its stand, the Skyhawks' offense failed to deliver.
They went 11-for-43 in the game and had just three field goals in the entire first half.
Scott kept the game close with its exceptional foul shooting. The Skyhawks went 26-for-28 from the line.
"Once some of the shots weren't falling, we told our guys to try to take it to the hole a little bit more and try to draw contact to get to the foul line," Cabell said. "We try to put a little bit of emphasis on it at the end of each practice, especially this week and I think it showed."
The Skyhawks kept the game tight and never trailed by more than 12 and always found a way to whittle the deficit back to single digits.
The breaks favored the No. 2 seed, however.
With under a minute left, Logan Webb's shot lipped the rim and devolved into a free-for-all on the floor for the rebound.
The ball serendipitously found its way into the hands of a Polar Bear who immediately hit a streaking Horton for his dunk, which put Fairmont up by 10 and the game out of reach.
"You've just got to knock them down," Cabell said. "Sometimes they go, sometimes they don't. That's basketball."
Jarin Hilson also scored 17 for the Polar Bears, collecting most of his points at the foul line.
Hilson went 13-for-19 at the line - nine of those makes coming in the fourth quarter.
The Skyhawks' lone senior, Matt Dolan, scored 18 points going 12-for-12 from the free throw line.
"I didn't get the exact shot selection I wanted," Dolan said. "But I got what I needed."
The Fairmont Senior defense focused on Dolan, holding him to just 3-for-13 from the floor and 0-for-4 from behind the arc. Hilson drew the crucial assignment of containing Dolan.
"He's (Hilson) a great defender," Dolan said. "He wasn't going to give me an open shot from the outside. I've got to give it to him. He's a great defender and I wish them the best of luck as they advance in the state tournament."