Coney leads Fairfield past Lakota East

FAIRFIELD — Ray Coney didn’t necessarily say it was a coincidence, but when the Fairfield High School senior sunk his first two free throws Friday night, he knew things were going to be all right.

Coney scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds — both game highs — and the Indians took down Lakota East 55-48 in a Greater Miami Conference opener at Fairfield Arena.

“I usually miss my first two free throws like almost every game. Then I make the rest,” said Coney, who went 7 of 8 from the charity stripe down the stretch to help catapult Fairfield to its fourth straight victory over Lakota East.

“I made my first two, and I thought, ‘Ah, I’m not going to miss the rest of the game,’” Coney added.

The last time Lakota East beat Fairfield was a 66-34 drubbing at Fairfield Arena on Feb. 4, 2020. Every meeting since then has been decided by eight points or less, in favor of the Indians.

Fairfield senior Deshawne Crim, who came in averaging 26 points a game, finished with 10 before fouling out with 2:08 left to play.

“I was really proud of our guys stepping up late,” Indians coach DJ Wyrick said. “With our guys in foul trouble, we relied on sophomores to get the job done, and they stepped up. They really made some plays, and they took care of the ball. That’s an environment they’ve never been in before, and I felt like they handled that pretty well.”

Fairfield (3-0, 1-0 GMC) had 11 second-chance points in the first half and took a 21-19 lead into the locker room. The Indians mounted their largest lead at 44-30 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

“We knew going in that if we didn’t block out well, it was going to be a long night,” Lakota East coach Clint Adkins said. “That was the difference in the game. They’re big, physical kids.”

Lakota East (1-2, 0-1 GMC) was led by senior Julian Mitchell and sophomore Trey Perry, who each scored 13 points.

Adkins said despite the setback, he saw more positives than negatives from his Thunderhawks, who shot just 29.8% from the floor.

“Offensively, it’s the best our motion has looked in terms of ball movement,” Adkins said. “I thought we made some strides in that area, and that led to some wide-open shots. We just didn’t make them.”

Perry drained a 3-pointer to pull Lakota East to within 35-28 with 1:39 remaining in the third quarter. Adkins called a timeout to set up his defense, but a Crim trey immediately out of the break halted the Thunderhawk surge.

“That’s a dagger,” Adkins said. “Those are back-breaking types of plays. But you know what, you have to give them credit. There’s a reason why their seniors are four-year and three-year starting guys. They got it done.”


With Crim and senior forward Aamir Rogers in foul trouble late, sophomores Kameron Sanders, Cashawn Ingram and Gabe Clemmons buckled down.

“They competed like crazy,” Coney said of the sophomores. “The young guys stepped up. I just like the way they competed and did whatever they needed to do to win.

“We’re always in attack mode,” Coney added. “Anybody can get it. I seen Crim in foul trouble early and thought that I really just have to keep it going. I didn’t let my foot off the gas.”


Both teams return to action on Tuesday. Fairfield travels to Lakota West, while Lakota East hosts Middletown.

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