No. 3 East Fairmont gives No. 1 Fairmont Senior its first loss with 59-55 triple overtime win

Feb. 15—FAIRMONT — Love was in the air on Valentine's Day. Just not on the basketball court.

No. 1 Fairmont Senior hosted crosstown rival No. 3 East Fairmont at the Fairmont Senior Field House Wednesday night. The last time they met, defense ruled as they both put up season lows in points scored.

After four quarters and three overtimes of hard nosed basketball, East Fairmont came out on top 59-55 over Fairmont Senior. East Fairmont won thanks to clutch free throws by Maddox Boyers and Blake Hunt.

"It was an incredible win," East Fairmont Head Coach Ty Asterino said. "Something our kids worked awful hard for. Good for our program, good for the school, good for the community. Really proud of our guys."

While Asterino looks back at the game and sees an accomplishment, Fairmont Senior Head Coach David Retton wonders what he could have done differently as a coach.

"We had some opportunities to finish it; we didn't," Retton said. "When you're in a game that's like this, I look at situations that I could have done better to put our kids in a position to win. It starts with me and decision making.

Senior Jackson Crouso led the charge for East Fairmont with 29 points, followed senior Greyson Stewart with 13 and Maddox Boyers with 11.

For Fairmont Senior, senior Zycheus Dobbs had 17, with senior Andre Grant scoring 12 and sophomore Darrell Claybrook scoring 10.

"[Crouso] was good," Asterino said. "We have a lot of guys that were stepping up and making plays and doing stuff. Jackson was really good. Made plays, made shots. All of them played defense got after it. That's what we want to see."

East Fairmont immediately went at it with Fairmont Senior, going blow-for-blow in the first quarter. After eight minutes of play, the Bees led the Polar Bears by two points, 16-14.

The Bees got the advantage early in the second quarter, leading 24-16 after two minutes. Fairmont Senior fought back, though, and tied the game 29 each with just under two minutes before the break. East Fairmont broke the tie with a late bucket to lead 31-29 at halftime.

Fairmont Senior took the lead a little over halfway through the third quarter 36-35. The Polar Bears got up to a five-point lead, but East Fairmont cut it down to two points at the end of the quarter to make it 43-41.

The Polar Bears held the lead for most of the second quarter before Crouso tied it 47-47 with 1:48 to go in regulation. Fairmont Senior dribbled out the clock to get the last shot, but Stewart blocked Dobbs' attempt with 0.3 seconds left. Dobbs missed the shot from the inbound pass to send the game to overtime.

After a scoreless first overtime, the teams went into double overtime. After buckets from Butler and Stewart, Fairmont Senior began dribbling out the final minute of the period and failed to score, sending the game to triple overtime 49-49.

In the third overtime, Hunt stole the ball off a Crouso tip, and then Hunt lobbed it to Crouso for the easy basket. Claybrook scored a layup in response, but Crouso got a second layup to give East Fairmont the lead back. Grant charged Boyers and turned the ball over, and East Fairmont began to work the clock.

Forced to foul, Fairmont Senior sent Boyers to the line for two shots. He made the first to make it a three-point game, and he made the second to make it a two-possession game. Fairmont Senior missed the shot, and Dobbs fouled Crouso on the rebound. Crouso made both shots at the line to make it a six-point game.

Dobbs scored a layup with 16.1 seconds left to make it a four-point deficit, and he fouled Hunt on the inbound pass. Hunt missed the first shot at the free throw line, but he made the second. Boyers went to the line again on another in bound pass and made his first shot. Cumberledge rebounded the missed second shot, and Dobbs got the layup, but East Fairmont left with the 59-55 victory.

"We use this as an opportunity to build resiliency," Retton said. "To build more toughness, and we are tough. We just use this as a learning opportunity. The good thing is we can't dwell on this."

East Fairmont takes the victory back home to take on Grafton on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Fairmont Senior looks to bounce back at Philip Barbour, also on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548