PELION — The Fairfield Central (12-6, 3-1) boys basketball earned a decisive 79-45 win at Pelion Tuesday night.
The Griffins got back to their winning ways after falling on the road previously to Keenan, and have now won seven of their last eight games.
“We played well and were able to get off to a good start and jump on them (Pelion) early,” Fairfield Central head coach Devin Liferidge said.
With his starting point guard — Jalyn Davis — out because of the flu, Liferidge shuffled his lineup by starting two bench players — Daniel Maple and Shadarius Hopkins.
“Shadarius (Hopkins) played really well in Davis’ absence,” he said. “Shadarius is a good catch-and-shoot player. If we can keep him under control, he can be really effective.”
Maple had a game high 19 points for the game, with 17 coming in the first half.
Fairfield never trailed in the game. The Griffins got on the board first, by hitting their first free throw and the points snowballed from there.
Early in the game Maple buried a three-pointer and then delivered and emphatic dunk, which started to shift the momentum in Fairfield’s favor. The Griffins used a 10-2 run to put their stamp on the game in the first quarter.
“We started to play really fast and got some easy baskets,” Liferidge noted. “We were able to put things in cruise control in the second half.”
Fairfield’s starters only played 12-15 minutes according to Liferidge. With the starters resting the majority of the second half, Liferdige was pleased with the way his bench played and hopes those minutes can pay large dividends later in the season.
“It was a quality win and as a coach you feel good when everybody can contribute and get reps,” he stated. “It’s a long season and it’s good to get guys minutes who don’t usually see them.”
Brandon Adams also cracked double digit scoring with 14 points, and Javahnne Neal added 10 off the bench.
Adams has been one of the pleasant surprises of the season so far for Liferidge.
“He (Adams) has been steady all season long and gives us something to look forward to next year to shore up the back court,” he noted.
Liferidge recognizes that the sophomore player doesn’t make many mistakes that hurt the team.
“To be that young and that poised is very rare,” he explained “Opponents are not going to rattle him and he is going to make the right play for us.”
Fairfield is back on the hardwood tonight with a contest against the Knights of North Central (4-7, 0-4).
North Central will try to slow down the game and Liferidge anticipates them to mix a man-to-man defense with a zone-press.
“We expect them to mix things up and try to slow us down,” he said. “We want to use our pressure to get them early and wear them down.”
There will not be a long layoff for the Griffins following tonight’s game, because they will be in Newberry Jan. 25 for a rematch with the Wolves. It would could be a playoff preview type matchup, Liferidge said the contest will be a true test for his team.
“We feel like this will be a good indicator and gauge for us halfway through our region schedule,” he noted.
Newberry (14-3, 4-0) was ranked number one in the state during their Dec. 14 battle, which the Wolves took 78-71.
Even though Newberry is boasting a five game winning streak, Liferidge is confident in the Griffins chances come Saturday.
“We want to make sure we give our best,” he stated. “I feel like if we play the way we are capable then we will be right there with them at the end.”