SIDNEY – Triad and Fairlawn locked horns in a tight Division IV girls basketball sectional fight, with the Jets finally prevailing, 62-43, Tuesday night.
The outset was sloppy for the Cardinals, with Coach Jeff Merklin forced to use a pair of timeouts in the first quarter to settle his team.
“It was frustrating because Cati (LeVan) was open and kept us in the game, but in tournament games, every minute is important. We had our chances, had good looks at the basket – two or three dead bang layups that we missed, four or five six-footers– and we couldn’t put them down,” THS Coach Jeff Merklin said.
Fairlawn looked like the better team early, but Triad battled and stayed in it, trailing 22-19 at the half.
LeVan powered the Cardinals (9-14) early and throughout the game, scoring 13 of the team’s 19 first-half points and finishing with 21 for the game. Makenzie Cauley added 12 points.
The third quarter saw the Red Birds fade, though, with Fairlawn turning a one possession game into an eight-point lead with a pair of treys. The Jets hit six from long distance in the game, and finished 20-of-28 from the stripe.
Lonna Heath scored 26 points for Fairlawn.
“In all the film we watched, I bet they didn’t make more than a couple threes,” Merklin said. “I bet they didn’t take more than two or three. I don’t know how many they had tonight, but it felt like 100.”
That lead ballooned to as many as 14 points before the quarter mercifully came to an end with Triad trailing, 43-31.
“The first half was really where we had our opportunity. We felt comfortable at halftime. Didn’t feel like we’d played very well, and we’re right in the game. It was just very disappointing. We really wanted to get a chance to play Fort Loramie, from a program perspective,” Merklin said.
Fairlawn advances to play top-seeded Fort Loramie on Saturday, with the tip scheduled here for 12:30 p.m.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.