BENTON – Despite the cold temperatures outside, the stage was set for a good old-fashioned Indiana barn-burner at Fairfield Friday night as undefeated West Noble brought its best team in years to town for an NECC matchup with the Falcons.
In 1972, a Fairfield squad – very early in the newly consolidated school’s existence – upset the then-15-0 Chargers and gave them their first loss.
History repeated itself Friday night as the Falcons knocked off the Chargers, 62-59.
With the win, Fairfield improved to 8-4 (4-1 NECC). West Noble fell to 11-1 (4-1)
It was the kind of complete, all-around effort Fairfield coach Troy Beachy has been looking for from his team.
“That was our most consistent effort of the season,” Beachy said. “Our guys stuck it out and we made sh ots when it counted.”
The Chargers (11-0 overall, 4-0 NECC) sprinted out to a quick 8-2 advantage, but the Falcons responded with an 8-3 run to cut the West Noble advantage to a point at 11-10.
West Noble led 20-16 at the first stop and pushed out to a nine-point lead at 25-16 early in the second stanza. But Fairfield closed the quarter on a 14-5 run to tie the contest at 30 with under a minute remaining.
A drive to the basket, foul and missed free throw with 4.2 seconds left in the half sent the Chargers to the locker room with a slim 32-30 lead.
A defensive-oriented third quarter saw the Falcons chip away at the Chargers, opening with a 6-2 mini-run to take a two-point lead at 36-34.
The Chargers retook the lead briefly on a drive to the rack and old-fashioned 3-point play to go back up by one at 37-36, but a Joe Line 3-pointer promptly restored the Falcons to a two-point lead at 39-37.
The Chargers rallied late in the period and held a razor-thin 45-44 lead with eight minutes to play.