Feb. 8—RACHEL — Playing in a packed gymnasium, the North Marion boys basketball team hosted No. 1 Fairmont Senior in an intra-county Big X matchup.
The full crowd began dwindling down around the fourth quarter, as visiting Fairmont Senior rolled over North Marion on its way to a 62-40 win.
"We feel good," Fairmont Senior's Zycheus Dobbs said. "Obviously it's a big game, in-county rivalry. It's just a good win. Any win's a good win."
Dobbs, a senior, led the charge for Fairmont Senior with 24 points and seven rebounds. He scored 10 points in the third quarter and went two for two at the free-throw line. Junior Tre Cumberledge followed with 17 points and six rebounds.
"Zycheus makes play after play, defensively offensively, and he is a fabulous player," Fairmont Senior Head Coach David Retton said. "Tre continues to get better. We need him flashing a little bit more against their zone, but he wants to be really good and is working at it."
For North Marion, junior Jeffrey Cowger and senior Landon Frey shared the team lead with 11 points each. Cowger also led North Marion with four rebounds. No other North Marion player scored more than five points.
"We've got to get more collective scoring," North Marion Assistant Coach Justin Balwanz, in for an ill Head Coach Steven Harbert, said. "We got to find more guys putting the ball in the basket and trying to find ways to score."
Balwanz also lamented the fact North Marion went four for 12 at the free throw line. He said that while it may not have made much of a difference, those were points left at the line.
Other than the score, Fairmont Senior held a lopsided lead in the rebounding category. The Polar Bears totaled 26 rebounds while North Marion had 17.
"They're a good athletic team, and teams we played before, we could outjump them," Cowger said. "We got to get more disciplined on the box-outs and just got to rebound better. We've been practicing it, and we've been trying to get it. We just tried to out jump that team, and you can't out jump Fairmont Senior."
North Marion struck first on the scoreboard, but Fairmont Senior wasted no time taking the lead and running away with it. About halfway through the first quarter, Fairmont Senior led 11-5, and by the end of the quarter, 23-9.
Fairmont Senior kept the lead through the entire second quarter, but North Marion used the quarter to chip away at the Polar Bears' lead. The Huskies outscored Fairmont Senior 10-7 in the quarter, making it an 11-point game at halftime 30-19.
"I made a real bonehead decision at the end of the [first] quarter. We wanted to be aggressive. Gave them some momentum, even started out the second half with momentum," Retton said. "But our guys did a great job in the third quarter and fourth quarter with our defense."
Retton addressed the scoring in the second quarter and made adjustments for the second half. Despite North Marion going on a 4-0 run to start the third quarter, Fairmont Senior went 19-2 the rest of the way to lead 49-25 entering the final frame.
The Polar Bears kept up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter to close out the game. At the end of it all, Fairmont Senior notched the win over North Marion 62-40.
"They're the most physical team we've played all year, most disciplined team we've played all year, probably the best team we'll play all year," Cowger said. "They are a bunch of studs. It's so unexpected coming into a game like that, facing a team that good when the teams we played before were average, maybe above average teams. They're just a great team."
Fairmont Senior, now standing at 16-0, hosts Robert C. Byrd on Friday, Feb. 9 for a rematch of the Jan. 29 game the Polar Bears won 79-51. Varsity tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairmont Senior Field House.
North Marion hits the road to play Preston in Kingwood, also on Friday. Varsity tips off at 7:30 p.m.
Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548