Fairfield falls to defending D-IV state champs at Flyin’ to the Hoop

KETTERING — Stat sheets roll off the printer immediately after games at the 20th Beacon Orthopaedics Flyin’ To The Hoop. Fairfield coach D.J. Wyrick knew which numbers to check to explain why his team lost.

Field-goal percentage: The Indians shot 30%. Assists: five. Turnovers: 12. Offensive rebounds: 21 but only eight second-chance points.

All those numbers were a formula for a 56-53 loss on Monday to Richmond Heights, the defending Division IV state champion.

“We just couldn’t make shots, couldn’t finish plays at the rim,” Wyrick said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to finish plays, take care of the ball.”

Despite their shooting woes, the Division I and Greater Miami Conference-leading Indians (12-3) led 53-50 with 2:19 left after four quick points from Deshawne Crim, who scored a game-high 23. But RH answered with a 3-pointer. Then came the 30-second stretch that sunk the Indians.

Consecutive turnovers led to a layup and a free throw for RH and a three-point lead. The Indians had a chance to tie. After Crim was tied up under the basket, the Indians set up a full-court press with 12 seconds left. RH threw long but Michael Lewis intercepted. He rushed up court and Wyrick call time with seven seconds left.

The Indians executed and pick-and-pop play for a 3-point shot for Kameron Sanders. But like so many shots on this day it bounced off the rim and the game ended.

“They made plays down the stretch, and we didn’t,” Wyrick said. “But I’ll give our guys credit. They played with effort all the way through the whole thing, but we’ve just got to execute better.”

The Indians started fast with a 10-0 lead. But RH came right back with a 23-2 run to lead 23-12. Then the Indians closed the first half with a 17-7 run to trail 30-29. They led 43-40 after three quarters.

“I thought it was a good game for us,” Wyrick said. “We played really hard, but we just couldn’t make plays that we needed to at the end of the game.”

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