Fairfield wins first outright GMC basketball title more than 50 years in the making

Fairfield's Deshawne Crim puts up a shot during Friday's game at Lakota West. The Indians won 81-76 in double overtime. Nick Graham/STAFF
Fairfield's Deshawne Crim puts up a shot during Friday's game at Lakota West. The Indians won 81-76 in double overtime. Nick Graham/STAFF

WEST CHESTER TWP. -- Going into Friday’s boys’ basketball game at Lakota West, Fairfield had waited 54 years to win an outright Greater Miami Conference championship.

The Indians had earned shares of four titles, but never had the satisfaction of savoring one all their own, so needing an extra eight minutes to finish that job wasn’t a problem,

Senior guard Logan Murphy and junior guard Logan Woods each scored four points in the second four-minute overtime to lift Fairfield to an 81-76 win over the Firebirds, clinching the Indians first outright GMC championship in the history of a conference that first began competition in the 1966-1967 school year.

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The 6-foot-4 Woods, a transfer from Cincinnati Christian, scored 18 points, all in the second half and overtime, to reach 1,000 for his career, but that individual effort was secondary to helping Fairfield make history.

“Winning the first outright championship is a great accomplishment,” Woods said after posing for photos with a banner heralding his entry into the 1,000-point club. “I’m glad that I was able to be here to help turn the program around.”

“It was in our minds,” Indians coach D.J. Wyrick admitted. “Winning the first championship since 1967 is a big deal, but we can’t be satisfied. We have to do what we can to advance in the tournament.”

Fairfield, the fourth seed in the upcoming Division I district tournament, could face 11th-seeded Lakota West (12-8, 9-5), in the second round on Feb. 23. The Firebirds are scheduled to meet 22nd-seeded Kings in the first round on Thursday.

Lakota West's Kelvin Turner (2) puts up a shot defended by Fairfield's Owen Bronston during their basketball game Friday, February 12, 2021 at Lakota West High School in West Chester Township. Fairfield won 81-76. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Lakota West's Kelvin Turner (2) puts up a shot defended by Fairfield's Owen Bronston during their basketball game Friday, February 12, 2021 at Lakota West High School in West Chester Township. Fairfield won 81-76. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Fairfield (12-4, 11-1) had to overcome the record-setting performance of Lakota West senior guard Kelvin Turner to grasp the trophy. The 5-foot-10 Turner sank five 3-pointers and went 10-for-10 on free throws on his way to a single-game program-record 37 points. Senior forward Brady Weber connected on

three 3-pointers while finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Weber made one of his 3-pointers as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter, cutting Fairfield’s lead to 47-45.

“They made some tough shots,” Wyrick said. “Their guys scored at multiple levels.”

Murphy also waited until after halftime to score all of his points, finishing with 11. Sophomore guard Deshawne Crim led Fairfield with 19 points, while sophomore center Aamir Rogers logged a double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds.

The Indians’ defense limited Lakota West sophomore Nathan Dudukovich to 10 points. He went into the game ranked second in the GMC with an average of 21.3 points per game.

“He got frustrated,” Lakota West coach Jim Leon said. “We’ve got to work on that.”

Dudukovich wasn’t the only participant to get frustrated. Leon and Wyrick both received technical fouls after a verbal altercation early in the fourth quarter that featured both coaches approaching each other in front of the scorer’s table.

By rule, both coaches had to remain seated for the rest of the game.

Lakota West deployed a 2-3 zone defense that stymied Fairfield in the first half, helping the Firebirds take a 28-20 halftime lead. Leon used two timeouts while the Indians were opening the third quarter with a 13-0 run.

“Their coach must have lit them up at halftime,” Leon said. “They came out with a lot of intensity. We weren’t taking the best shots.”

“Their zone bothered us,” Wyrick said. “We told them we’ve got to attack it and get into straight-line drive situations.”

Turner sent the game to the first overtime with a driving layup with 10.8 seconds remaining in regulation. Crim connected on a leaner with 25 seconds left to force the second overtime. Murphy scored on a putback of his own miss and added two free throws as Fairfield opened the second overtime with a 5-0 run to take control on the way to an historic win.

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