PLEASANT HILL — How rare was a Wednesday night boys basketball game for the Fairlawn Jets? As best as coach Justin Tidwell can recall, “this is the second Wednesday night game I’ve played in my career.”
He might want to schedule a few more following the Jets’ performance. Fairlawn made the trip to Newton for a game twice postponed by weather. And Wednesday’s trip home was likely slower than usual with heavy fog blanketing the Miami Valley.
Still, the Jets persevered both the weather and the Indians for a 63-55 victory in non-league play. The win was the fourth in five games for Fairlawn and pushed its record to 9-9 overall.
That’s a good spot to be in for a team that starts one junior (Isaac Ambos), three sophomores (Jackson Jones, Skyler Piper, Ashton Piper) and one freshman (Dominic Davis).
“When you’re that young and you’re able to win close games it’s only going to make you better,” Tidwell said. “In a couple years we hope that pays dividends for us.”
Fairlawn’s biggest lead hit 17 points (52-35) with 5:51 left in the game. Newton’s full-court pressure — including consecutive turnovers that cut the lead to 52-42 — helped the Indians inch closer. The Jets never panicked and answered score for score to keep the deficit from dropping below seven points.
Skyler Piper led Fairlawn with 21 points and Ashton Piper scored 19. Ambos added eight, Jones seven, Davis six and Lane Greiwe two.
Fairlawn led 29-21 at halftime and pushed the lead to double digits with 5:07 left in the third quarter on a Skyler Piper free throw. The Jets ended the quarter on a 8-0 run with an Ashton Piper 3-pointer, Skyler Piper score in the lane and Skyler’s 3-pointer he banked in at the buzzer.
Fairlawn scored two baskets in the fourth quarter, good enough as Newton sent the Jets to the free-throw line 26 times in the quarter. The Jets made 14 of them.
“We struggled from the line late in the game, but I thought we did a good job executing defensively to maintain our lead to where it was,” Tidwell said. “Overall I think it was a complete team effort tonight. I thought all the boys stepped up in different situations. Each kid had a different role tonight. I thought each kid did an excellent job executing that role.”
The role for Davis continues to be help fill the void left from the hand injury to Drew Maddy. It’s possible Maddy could return for the tournament.
“Dominic has done a nice job where he’s fell into that role,” Tidwell said. “He’s getting better as the season goes on and for a freshman that’s all you can ask for.”
The Jets have also received solid bench play from Garrett Kramer and strong senior leadership from Holman Rosales and Greiwe.
“Lane Greiwe and Holman Rosales, our two seniors, have really stepped up late in the season and really carried our youth to be at the .500 range,” Tidwell.
“In the last few games we’ve played really good team ball. The Piper boys have been playing very well and they distribute the ball. We’ve gotten good play out of Dominic Davis as well. As a whole we’re really starting to gel together.”
Fairlawn attempts to go over the .500 mark Friday at Houston (4-13). The last time the Jets posted a winning record (4-3) was back on Dec. 28 when they beat the Wildcats 58-55 on a last-second shot.
“(Houston is) playing pretty well right now. I’m expecting nothing but a dog fight in that game,” Tidwell said. “Any time you can stay above .500 I think that’s huge, especially being a young team.”