Frank Ryder poured in a season-best 30 points Friday night — and Fairview needed every single one of them.
Ryder, a 6-foot-10 senior who is in his first season back at Fairview after a stint at IMG Academy in Florida, racked up more than half his team's points as the Knights fended off Loveland 54-53 in the Dungeon.
Fairview led 46-36 in the fourth quarter, but couldn't put away from the Indians. Even after a three-point play by Ryder with 42 seconds left gave the Knights a 53-48 advantage, it still turned into a nail-biter in the final 10 seconds.
Loveland's Ben Newton drained a baseline trey with 8.3 ticks left to make it 54-53, and after Fairview turned the ball over on the inbounds play, the Indians had a shot at the victory. But a 3-point attempt by Ayden Eberhardt at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim.
"That was way too close for comfort," said first-year Fairview head coach Patrick Burke.
But however it went down, Friday's victory gives the Knights a winning record (6-5) for the first time since after the season opener, and a 2-0 mark in the Front Range League.
"We really need this for our team," said Ryder, who has scored at least 20 points in five straight games and is averaging 26.2 over that stretch. "It was a really good team win. When we're up by 10 and they come back, we need to win. Everyone stepped up.
"We kind of started out the year slow. We didn't have a lot of returning guys -- only one returning varsity player and I transferred from Florida. We had a lot of young guys and they needed to get experience. But right now everyone's clicking."
Indeed, Fairview has now won four of its last five games. Granted, those five opponents were a combined 13-45 going into Friday's action (Loveland is now 1-12). But for the most part, the Knights have taken care of business, also taking advantage of a five-game homestand that ends Saturday night when they host non-conference opponent Mountain Vista.
Ryder, a University of San Diego signee, has been Fairview's unquestioned go-to guy. On Friday, against a Loveland team with no player taller than 6-3, he was often double- and triple-teamed. But he still proved more than the Indians could handle, making 13 shots from the field, almost all of them from within 8 feet of the basket.
"We're starting to learn to play with him a little more," Burke said. "He does some good things, and when we stand and watch him, you might as well buy a ticket and sit in the stands. But we're working on it, and what our motion should look like."
On Friday, with Ryder being a presence in the middle and Fairview playing pretty good defense overall, the Knights held Loveland to 35 percent field-goal shooting (16-46), though the Indians were 15 of 17 from the free throw line.
"We're 6-5 -- one over .500, which is big," Burke said. "We knew we wanted to go on a run and get some confidence going. And we're 2-0 in conference, and you can't argue with that."
Fairview 54, Loveland 53
Quere 4 1-1 11, Newton 6 5-6 20, Eberhardt 2 5-6 9, Svendsen 2 0-0 4, McQuade 0 2-2 2, Bergstrom 0 0-0 0, Cabrera 0 0-0 0, Rembao 2 2-2 7, Dallabetta 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 15-17 53.
Heisner 1 0-0 2, Carson 1 0-0 2, Weatherly 2 0-1 6, Mooz 1 1-2 3, Ryder 13 4-6 30, Khadem 2 3-3 7, Whittle 1 0-0 2, Tyse 0 0-0 0, Kaufman 1 0-0 2, Pykkonen 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-12 54.
Score by quarters:Loveland (1-12, 0-3) 14 4 18 17 — 53
Fairview (6-5, 2-0) 13 12 17 12 — 54
3-point field goals — Loveland (6): Newton 3, Quere 2, Rembao; Fairview (2): Weatherly.. Total fouls — Loveland 16, Fairview 19.. Fouled out — McQuade; Carson, Weatherly.. Technical fouls — Fairview (illegal substitution).
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