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.
The two teams traded the lead for most of the decisive fourth quarter before Fairfield made its free throw late and eked out the home win.
Joe Line led the Falcons with 19 points, and said his team hoped to put itself in the NECC title chase conversation.
“This was a great win for us tonight,” Line said. “Our seniors gave us great leadership.”
West Noble coach Jim Best could not fault his team’s effort.
“Fairfield made a few more plays than we did,” Best said. “They also out-rebounded us. We didn’t do a very good job on the backboards.”
Drew Schermerhorn led the Chargers with 25 points.
Earlier, it was the Westview girls holding off Fairfield, 42-41 in another NECC contest.
Grace Hales led Westview with 18 points. Brooke Yoder added 10.
Jenna Kieper paced the Falcons with 11 points. Brooke Mast added nine.
Fairfield travels to Northridge tonight for a nonconference affair with the Raiders. West Noble travels to NorthWood Tuesday night for a nonconference matchup with the Panthers.
In other boys basketball action Friday night:
The Northridge Raiders, with a sterling comeback win Friday night at Plymouth, still lead the Northern Lakes Conference high school boys basketball race.
The Raiders, trailing 38-25 late in the second quarter, rallied for a 73-68 win over the Pilgrims.
Northridge scored five points in the last three seconds of the second period to get within 38-30, tied it 52-52 by the end of the third and outscored the hosts 21-16 in the last eight minutes.
The Raiders, 12-2 overall, are now 5-0 in the NLC. NorthWood is 4-1 and Concord 3-1. Plymouth dropped to 4-8 and 0-4.
NorthWood (12-1) was a 54-47 winner at home over Warsaw (9-5, 2-2) as Zach Zurcher scored 22 points and Jon Wilkinson 14.
Felip Serwatka tallied 25 points as Concord (9-3) notched a 67-43 win at Wawasee (2-10, 0-4).
Elsewhere, Westview improved to 8-3 with a 47-34 NECC win at Eastside; Triton thumped Jimtown 63-46 in the NSC; and Penn (11-1) was a 54-39 NIC winner over Elkhart Central (4-9).