INDIAN LAND — The Fairfield Central boys’ basketball team saw their playoff run end at Indian Land in the second round for the second year in a row, when they fell to the Warriors 71-50 Saturday night.
“It was a tough game to lose,” Fairfield Central head coach Devin Liferidge said after the game. “The kids played extremely hard but we struggled to put the ball in the hole.”
Indian Land’s defense held the Griffins well below their 64-point average. Prior to Saturday night’s loss, Fairfield had been lighting up the the scoreboard.
During the last month, the Griffins had scored at least 73 points in eight of their last nine games, including three 90- point-plus efforts.
Liferidge said the key to the game was not connecting on shots.
“I love the looks we got and I don’t think we forced anything but we just couldn’t knock them down,” he stated. “It was a tough game and we really struggled to score the basketball.”
Fairfield finished five of 29 from beyond the arc and only shot 25-percent from the floor.
At the end of the first quarter, the Griffins trailed 22-14.
Nearing the end of the first half, Fairfield was down by as many at 14, but Shadarius Hopkins ignited a small run to pull the Griffins to within eight at 33-25 by the time the halftime buzzer sounded.
Early in the third quarter Indian Land would start to take control of the game by going on an 8-2 run, which forced a Fairfield timeout.
“Looking back that was probably the turning point in the game,” Liferidge noted. “And not that we gave up, just that we weren’t able to overcome that hole. It was a huge swing in the game.”
Indian Land outscored Fairfield 38-25 in the second half to secure the 71-50 win.
Liferidge said his team had good looks from the perimeter, but just couldn’t sink the open shots. Sometimes shooting is contagious when the shots go down, but in this case, shooting was contagious with the shots rattling out.
“When the ball is not going in, that can spread too (to other guys),” Liferidge stated. ” Guys start to second guess themselves and that makes it tougher to score.”
Indian Land hosted Keenan Wednesday night for a chance to play in the upper-state finals.
Fairfield’s season ended with an 19-8 record. Although the season ended, Liferidge said his team found some key pieces moving forward.
“Winning is a process,” he noted. “Every single year we’ve been here, there has been some growth. Whether it is how many games we’re winning or how we’re fairing in the region. All things considered we improved and got better. Hopefully next year we can take the next step and make a deeper run in the playoffs.”
The Griffins reached the second round of the playoffs after dismantling Chesterfield in the opening round.
Fairfield Central shook off some early troubles to capture a 73-55 win in the first round over Chesterfield. There were seven lead changes in the first quarter, with Fairfield trailing 15-14 after the first eight minutes and leading just 29-28 at halftime.
After the game, head coach Devin Liferidge said his staff challenged the players to step up their game and they did just that.
The Griffins went on a 23-0 run and didn’t commit a single turnover in the third quarter to establish their dominance.
Fairfield hit their final seven of eight shots in the third quarter to establish a lead that they would never relinquish.
Jalyn Davis netted a game-high 16 points for the Griffins. Daniel Maple chipped in 12 and both Keith Workman and Javahnne Neal cracked double-digit scoring by adding 10 points apiece.