The Fairview boys basketball team is young, but it’s getting some valuable experience in close games.
So far, the Knights have passed the early tests.
After two one-point losses to start 5A Front Range League play – including an overtime loss at Poudre – the Knights had a breather in comparison against Horizon. In a foul-plagued game, Fairview hit 9 of 11 free throws down the stretch and survived a last-second 3-pointer to pull out a 53-50 win over the Hawks on Friday night.
“It’s great to get these close games,” said junior Ashton Nichols, who led the team with 13 points and hit all seven of his foul shots. “These close games are building our attitude and making us fight for everything we have.”
Fight was the appropriate description for Friday’s game. Both teams struggled to shoot well and combined for just four field goals in a 7-3 first quarter. Good defense was a big reason for the poor shooting percentage, but missing open shots also was a factor.
“Horizon is tough, they’re scrappy, they make every shot difficult, which is why we didn’t shoot the ball overly well,” Fairview coach Patrick Burke said. “But we found a way to win. That’s one of the pieces of youth; sometimes they go figure it out.”
Fairview (6-6, 2-1), which led by five at halftime, stretched it to 30-20 early in the third quarter but scored just seven points over the next 10 minutes while Horizon (8-5, 0-3) took its first lead midway through the fourth.
But the young Knights quickly took the lead back and never let it go, although there were tense moments.
“It’s building a lot of character,” Burke said. “The kids that start and finish are pretty young. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a little frustrating. We’re working on finishing what we start.”
They did that after taking back the lead. Nichols converted a three-point play with 2:02 left to give Fairview a 47-40 lead and Horizon started putting them on the line, but the Knights hit their free throws.
The Hawks had one last chance after their three-point play cut it to one. Jalen Page, who also scored 13 points, calmly drained two free throws and good defense forced a tough shot in the final seconds, and Fairview escaped.
“We did a really good job of keeping them from getting that quick penetration. When they brought it back out you start to feel the clock ticking,” Burke said. “They ended up getting a pretty decent look from the corner.
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Fairview 53, Horizon 50
Lawrence 6 0-0 13, Dragoo 3 3-4 11, Cirbo 2 5-6 11, Bennett 2 1-1 5, Leyshon 1 0-0 3, Gallegos 1 1-2 3, Lopez 1 0-0 2, Magalong 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 10-13 50.
Page 3 7-9 13, Nichols 3 7-7 13, Dolan 3 3-4 11, Blackburn 3 2-2 9, O’Neill 0 4-6 4, Dineen 1 0-0 2, Atkinson 0 1-2 1. Totals 13 24-30 53..
Score by quarters:
3-point field goals — Horizon (6): Dragoo 2, Cirbo 2, Lawrence, Leyshon; Fairview (3): Dolan 2, Blackburn. Total fouls — Horizon 24, Fairview 14. Fouled out — Alex Lawrence. Technical fouls — none.