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Mar. 4—WOOSTER — It came down to who had the right run at the right time in Kirtland and Fairview's Division III district semifinal on March 4.

The CVC inter-division foes traded the lead on several occasions, with neither able to build a lead of more than nine points. Kirtland entered the fourth quarter with a two-point advantage.

Tthe Warriors took the lead with four minutes left on a Nolan Davis layup, and they capitalized on late Kirtland mistakes. Fairview won, 70-63, and advanced to the district final at Wooster on March 9.

The Warriors will play Cuyahoga Heights or Triway in search of their first regional semifinal trip in school history.

Fairview went ahead early at 7-5. Then the Warriors found their rhythm with a 9-2 run that made it 16-7 before a Kirtland timeout.

Coach Shawn McGregor helped his team collect itself and get back going. The Hornets came out of the time out with a counter punch, as it was a 15-2 run of their own to end the first quarter.

"When you get to district, there's no weak teams and we told the kids that," McGregor said. "Fairview is a good team and they threw the first punch. Our kids needed to answer and they did that. We adjusted to some of the things they were doing and our kids answered the call. We did that all the way through the game but just got unlucky at the end of the game with misses and turnovers."

But another hurdle was placed in front of the Hornets, as their leading scorer Nick Barisic picked up his third foul early in the second quarter.

Kirtland needed some other players to step up for the moment and several answered the call. Vince Carriero turned from distributor to scorer, as he went to work on the drive and had 11 points in the first half.

He finished with 16. Other players like Will Sayle, Dan Alfieri and Jake Laverde were also up for the challenge with big buckets coming all through the contest. Sayle had a corner 3-opinter that gave the Hornets the lead going to the fourth.

McGregor had confidence in his players no matter who was in what situation on the court.

"It's been like that all year," McGregor said. "We have five seniors that have done a lot to help us prepare. Against Newton Falls, Nick and Will fouled out so we needed Jake and Danny to finish the game. But we talk about it all the time, our strength is our depth. Throughout the year, that's how we won a lot of games. Everyone did a great job of keeping us in the game and have a chance to advance."

Blasini came out hot in the second half with four 3-pointers to finish with a team-high 18 points.

Kirtland had a one-point lead with just over four minutes left in the contest. But Davis had his layup fall and gave the lead back to the Warriors.

The Hornets weren't able to convert on several good looks, which included going 0-for-3 from beyond the arc in the middle of the fourth. They also had a rebound off of a missed Fairview free throw get away from them, which Bruke Lowry turned into a bucket for the Warriors.

Four Fairview players finished in double figures with Will Allen (24 points), Lowry (11), Davis (10) and Lucas (10). Owen McMonagle was strong from the free throw line late, converting on five of his six shots from the line.

This is the second season in a row Kirtland advanced to the district round. They fell to Lake Catholic a season ago. McGregor knows that a second district semifinal defeat just adds more fuel to the fire for next season.

"We felt it a lot last year, too, in the loss to Lake Catholic," McGregor said. "That was our fuel for this season. In the summer we talked about what we needed to do to win that game. We played a tough schedule through the season, a lot of D-I and D-II teams, we competed in every game. We learned how to win, who can make plays and win the game. The kids keep improving and working hard, the seniors did a good job of setting the expectations of what should be expected from here on out."


Fairview 70, Kirtland 63