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Fairmont Senior dominates Hampshire 61-31 to advance to semifinal

Mar. 13—CHARLESTON — The road to a three-peat in the AAA boys basketball state tournament began for No. 1 Fairmont Senior on Tuesday evening as the Polar Bears took on No. 8 Hampshire in the quarterfinals at the Charleston Coliseum.

Nearly doubling its opponents points, the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears defeated the Hampshire Trojans 61-31 to advance to the semifinal.

"Our defense got us off to a very good start," Fairmont Senior Head Coach David Retton said. "We had outstanding pressure, and with the pressure we still had very good help. We're making progress in that area, and that's just how our team is. We start with our defense, and then we're able to get some fast break opportunities."

Fairmont Senior's defense forced 19 turnovers by Hampshire, and the offense cashed in those turnovers into 25 points. Fairmont Senior also dominated inside the paint with 40 points under the basket.

Senior Zycheus Dobbs scored 28 points, shooting 11 of 12 from the floor and six of 10 from the freethrow line. Junior Tre Cumberledge followed with 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double.

"Just knowing it's another game [led to the success]," Dobbs said about his performance. "Obviously the stakes are a lot higher, but just going into the game, not trying to do too much and just doing what the team needs. I feel like that just allows me to be successful, and that's what all of our guys do, just play the role in our team."

For Hampshire, Jensen Field scored 12 to lead his team. Bryson Richardson had six, and no other played scored more than four points. Carder Monroe led Hampshire with five rebounds.

Fairmont Senior's defense also kept Hampshire off of the freethrow line Tuesday. Fairmont Senior fouled Hampshire nine times but neither was a shooting foul.

"I feel like that's just something we work on in practice everyday," Dobbs said. "One of our goals going into games is making more freethrows than the other team's shooting. I feel like working on it everyday in practice allows us to just do that in games."

In the assist column, Fairmont Senior had 15 total assists to Hampshire's seven. Senior Andre Grant led Fairmont Senior with six assists, and Dobbs had five. With his assists and seven points combined, Grant was responsible for 19 points in the game.

"Broad vision. We work on it everyday," Grant said. "You just slow it down and make sure you make the right pass."

Fairmont Senior started the game on fire, going on a 14-0 run against Hampshire without missing any shots. Hampshire scored its first points with 2:24 remaining in the quarter, a layup by Jensen Fields. At the end of the first eight minutes, Fairmont Senior held a 22-8 lead.

Hampshire began to score the same number of points in the second quarter as in the first, just with one more made basket. Fairmont Senior nearly doubled its points from the first quarter, taking a 26-point, 42-16 lead into halftime.

The scoring slowed down somewhat in the third quarter. Fairmont Senior prevented Hampshire from scoring double digits in a quarter once again while the Polar Bears scored 13 of its own to get ahead by 31. Entering the final quarter, Fairmont Senior led 54-23.

With the game in hand, Fairmont Senior took its starters out of the game and coasted to its seventh straight state tournament win.

Fairmont Senior next plays in the semifinal on Thursday, March 14 at 7:15 p.m. Fairmont Senior could face cross-town rival No. 4 East Fairmont. In order for that to happen, East Fairmont must defeat No. 5 Logan.

"They're two very good teams," Retton said. "Logan's an outstanding shooting team. They play extremely hard. And East Fairmont, they got very good inside play and very good outside play, and just solid all the way around and so very well coached."

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548