PIQUA — Fairlawn’s boys basketball team earned a third shot at Russia with a dominating 50-30 win over Lehman Catholic in a Division IV sectional opener on Saturday at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium.
No. 6 seed Fairlawn (12-11) will face No. 3 Russia (15-8) at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Piqua. Lehman, the No. 8 seed, finishes 8-15.
And it was sophomore Ashton Piper that was the starter and finisher for the Jets.
He had 13 of the Jets’ 15 points in the opening quarter and added seven more in the fourth quarter as Fairlawn led 15-6, 23-9 and 31-20 at the quarter breaks.
“Ashton (Piper) is a great athlete who can score a lot of ways,” Fairlawn coach Justin Tidwell said. “We like to go to him to finish games a lot, he has a big body and can use it to his advantage.”
Tidwell wasn’t happy with an 18-7 lead and under three minutes to go in the half. Fairlawn outscored Lehman 5-2 the rest of the half.
“We played good defense throughout tonight,” Tidwell said. “But we were just so stagnant on offense (before the timeout). We told the kids, this was just about surviving and advancing and moving on to the second round.”
Lehman coach Pat Carlisle knew it would be a defensive battle.
“They played great defense and so did we,” Carlisle said. “Give him (Ashton Piper) credit. He is a great player.”
Carlisle was pleased with the Cavaliers’ season.
“Our student-athletes define what an academic institution are supposed to be,” Carlisle said. “They are all involved in other clubs and activities and still found a way to have our highest finish in four years in the NWCC. I think it is a great building stone for next year.”
Piper led Fairlawn with 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Isaac Ambos scored 12 points and Skyler Piper added seven.
Elliott Gilardi led Lehman with nine points. Luke Frantz scored seven and Bryce Kennedy added six.
Fairlawn was 20-of-44 from the floor for 45 percent and 6-of-10 from the line for 60 percent. Lehman was 10-of-37 from the floor for 27 percent and 8-of-15 from the line for 53 percent.
Fairlawn won the battle of the boards 26-21 and had nine turnovers to Lehman’s 12.
Russia, which beat Mechanicsburg 69-41 in Saturday’s second sectional opener in Piqua, beat Fairlawn 64-29 and 65-54 in Shelby County Athletic League games in regular season.
Reach Rob Kiser at (937) 451-3336.