By Scott Halasz
XENIA — The Fairborn Skyhawks got defensive in a 45-33 win over Xenia Wednesday.
Fairborn harassed the host Buccaneers into 13 first-half turnovers and limited Xenia to six first-half field goals in building a 26-16 halftime lead and improving to 3-5 overall and 2-2 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American South.
Xenia was only able to get the deficit under seven points twice in the second half and made just 11 of 53 field goals while committing 18 turnovers.
In winning three straight, the Skyhawks have allowed an average of 39 points and have held those opponents to no better than 36 percent shooting.
“We put in a lot of defenses for that reason,” Coach Billy Harchick said. “Switching our defense up. It keeps them off guard more.”
Fairborn also had solid offense as well, getting double-digit scoring efforts from freshman Khala Powell (13 points), sophomore Evelyn Oktavec (12 points), and senior Jana Brown-Griffith (11 points). It was a season-high for Brown-Griffith.
“Our scorers did a great job,” Harchick said. “Great offense I thought.”
Sophomore guard Victoria Rady led Xenia (2-8, 1-3 GWOC) with 9 points, while senior Astella Welsh added eight. Senior Jada Wallace chipped in six points and 18 rebounds for Xenia, which is averaging under 30 percent shooting so far this season.
“Fundamentally we’re flawed,” Coach Kyle Gray said. “We’ve got to keep working … on things you do when people put pressure you you.”
The pressure forced Xenia into more turnovers (eight) than points (seven) in the first quarter as Fairborn darted to an 11-7 lead that reached 18-9 midway through the second quarter after a free throw by Kaylie Cook. Xenia cut it to 20-15 with 2:15 left after a pair of free throws by Rady, but Fairborn closed the half with a 6-1 run to build the aforementioned 10-point lead.
Xenia trimmed it to 28-23 with five minutes left in the third after a Rady 3-pointer, and a pair of baskets by Stone sandwiched around an Oktavec bucket. But Fairborn responded with a pair of buckets around two free throws from Welsh to take a 32-25 lead after three.
Oktavec made three of four from the free-throw line to start the fourth and Xenia got no closer than eight the rest of the way.
“They’ve got a great player and a smart player in Oktavec,” Gray said. “(Powell), our game plan was to make (her) beat us and she did.”
Gray cited Wallace for her rebounding effort, despite being just 5-foot-7.
“She’s the one that set the tone for us to get better,” Gray said.
Fairborn is off until visiting Tecumseh Monday, Jan. 2. Xenia visits Tippecanoe Wednesday, Jan. 4.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.