East Fairmont's Hunt, Crouso combine for 35 in 68-34 win over Hampshire

Jan. 3—PLEASANT VALLEY — It took until the start of the new year, but East Fairmont boys basketball opened at home Tuesday night, hosting Hampshire.

The Bees got the much needed win 68-34 over Hampshire and improves to an even 3-3 on its record and get its second straight win.

"It definitely feels good to get a home opener win," senior Blake Hunt said. "It's getting us back in the winning streak because we had two straight losses. Two [wins] in a row is good."

Hunt came off the bench with the hot hand, shooting exclusively from beyond the arc and making six of his eight shots to tally 18 points.

"As soon as I shot it I kept running back on defense because I knew it was going in," Hunt said. "Coming off the bench feels like adrenaline to keep the game going and transition. It was good."

Senior Jackson Crouso shot a perfect eight for eight and went one for two from the line to score 17, including 11 in the first quarter. He also grabbed eight rebounds off the glass, evenly split between offense and defense.

"The paint is where I feel most comfortable," Crouso said. "I've learned over my years to read the rim, read where the ball is coming in and go after there. Play strong, jump, box out. I've gotten really good at it. I think it's a great part of my game."

Senior Greyson Stewart finished the night with nine points, and senior Drew Moore had seven. Senior Ian Crookshanks had five rebounds for second most on the team.

Hampshire got the lead quickly against East Fairmont, and the two went back and forth for most of the first quarter. East Fairmont Head Coach Ty Asterino called a timeout with 2:14 to go just after his team went up 12-10.

"I didn't like the way we were aggressively playing defense," Asterino said. "We just needed to get together and figure out that's now the way that we need to play."

In the last two minutes of the first quarter, East Fairmont went on a 10-0 run to lead 22-10 at the end of the quarter.

East Fairmont grew its lead through most of the second quarter, keeping it at least double digits. Hampshire got on a small run near the end to make it 40-20 going into halftime.

The Bees defense stepped up its game in the third quarter, only allowing three points from Hampshire the entire quarter. With 18 more points from East Fairmont's offense, the home team led 58-23 going into the final frame.

"Going up 18-3 in the third, that's big," Asterino said. "When you have that, you can keep building off of that, and defensively there's still work that we need to be doing and stuff that we have to get better at."

Up by 35, East Fairmont put in its reserves to finish out the game. They scored 10 and allowed 11, securing the win and starting a streak with the 68-34 victory over the Trojans.

East Fairmont hits the road once again to face Robert C. Byrd on Friday, Jan. 5. Asterino said RCB starts five sophomores, but they're not without experience. Hunt mentioned the quickness of RCB being a factor to deal with.

"We're expecting the same type of pressure on the defense," Hunt said. "They're a little bit quicker, but it will be, I think, a more competitive game."

The varsity game tips off at 7:30 p.m. at Robert C. Byrd High.

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548