East Fairmont boys defeat Logan 62-35 to win first state tournament game in 23 years

Mar. 13—CHARLESTON — The final game of Tuesday's AAA quarterfinal boys basketball games, No. 4 East Fairmont and No. 5 Logan met in a sure to be thriller in the Charleston Coliseum.

After a close first half, East Fairmont showed why it was the higher seed and got its first state tournament win since 2001, beating Logan 62-35.

"Very, very good team we defeated tonight," East Fairmont Head Coach Ty Asterino said. "I thought they were a very solid team coming in, and they did nothing to change my opinion. I thought we played extremely hard and pretty disciplined throughout the night, and our inside combination of [Greyson] Stewart and [Jackson] Crouso played extremely well tonight."

Five East Fairmont players scored more points than Logan's leading scorer. Crouso had 22, Stewart had 11 and Maddox Boyers, Blake Hunt and Drew Moore had nine each.

Crouso shot 10 for 14 on the court and grabbed 13 rebounds for the double-double and had four assists and three blocks. Stewart and Boyers both had six rebounds, and Boyers had six assists.

"State tournament is the biggest stage in West Virginia for high school basketball," Crouso said. "Just had that mindset to go out. I don't want to stop. I plan on playing two more games, winning two more games. I had that mindset coming into the game and that really helped push me through it."

According to Stewart, his and Crouso's ability to play so well together underneath the basket comes from their long history of playing together and the teammates they have around them.

"We've been playing with each other for years now," Stewart said. "We got really good chemistry between each other. We know how to roll, we know how to hit each other when we need it, and of course we have our guards who can hit us too for the easy post-ups and scores underneath."

Cole Blankenship and Zayden Sherod both had eight points for Logan. Sherod also had seven rebounds and went four for four at the free throw line. Blankenship also was perfect at the line going two for two.

East Fairmont out played Logan underneath the basket statistically. East Fairmont outrebounded Logan 40 to 18 and scored 44 points in the paint compared to Logan's 16.

East Fairmont and Logan went back and forth scoring the baskets for the first half of the first quarter. It wasn't until Greyson Stewart got a tip in on the rebound of his own layup that East Fairmont held the lead for a substantial time. At the end of the first quarter, East Fairmont led 16-8.

The Bees started a 6-0 run at the end of the first quarter and carried it into the second quarter to make it an 8-0 run. Logan fought back, however, cutting the lead down to four points with 1:18 to go before halftime. East Fairmont responded by getting back five of the points it lost to lead 29-20 at the break.

Logan got a quick three points at the start of the third quarter to cut the lead to six, but East Fairmont played strong the rest of the period to run away with the lead. The Bees got to double digit points ahead of the Wildcats and didn't stop, leading 45-27 entering the fourth quarter.

East Fairmont maintained and built upon its lead in the fourth quarter, going on a 9-0 run after Logan scored four points to start the fourth. When the buzzer rang, East Fairmont won 62-35 and got its second ever state tournament win and first in 23 years.

"It's very special," Asterino said. "No other group of guys would I want to be with. This group has done a lot of things.... I didn't realize it had been that number of years, but that's big for our school. That's big for our basketball program. Super proud of these guys because they've worked extremely hard."

East Fairmont takes on cross-town rival Fairmont Senior for the fourth time this season. Fairmont Senior leads the season series 2-1, but East Fairmont's victory is Fairmont Senior's only loss on the season. East-West Boys Basketball Part Four tips off Thursday, March 14 at 7:15 p.m.

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548