FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Fairmont Senior trailed for the majority of Monday’s matchup against Robert C. Byrd and Polar Bears’ coach David Retton thought his team was thoroughly outplayed in most facets of the contest.
Still, thanks to an 11-3 run to end the game, Fairmont Senior claimed a 64-58 victory to complete a regular season sweep of the Eagles at the Fairmont Senior Field House.
“We got outcoached tonight. We got outplayed,” Retton said. “We got out everything tonight. We were lucky to come out of here with a win. We shot free throws extremely well and that won us the game.”
Khori Miles’ layup gave RCB (12-4) a 55-53 lead with 3:20 remaining. After Dasilas Jones tied the game with two free throws, the Polar Bears (15-1) went on top for good when Jalen Bridges converted a dunk at the 2:10 mark.
Bridges added two free throws with 1:08 left, before Miles made a pull-up jumper on the baseline.
But Bridges was up to the task again at the line and made two more foul shots with 25 seconds left, before Bryson Lucas made one free throw to trim the Eagles’ deficit to three with 17 seconds.
Jones split two free throws with 14 seconds remaining and the Polar Bears came up with a stop to seal the win.
“When the game ends and you find out you had seven turnovers and five more field goals than them you think how’d we lose? But hats off to them,” RCB coach Bill Bennett said. “They did what veteran teams did do down the stretch and made the plays they needed to make. “We had a couple possessions that we’d probably like to have back where we maybe weren’t quite as patient as we needed to be.”
The Eagles were nearly flawless offensively in a first quarter that saw them make 12-of-17 field goals to build a 26-13 lead. Lucas made back-to-back baskets early that gave RCB an 11-2 advantage as the Eagles created problems for the Polar Bears with their penetration.
When Tanner Kennedy and Gavin Kennedy made consecutive field goals later in the quarter, RCB held a 19-6 lead and Miles scored inside twice later in the quarter to help keep the lead at 13 entering the second.
“We picked certain spots to play defense in and you have to play it and be consistent with it,” Retton said. “We weren’t consistent with it tonight. We switched defenses. We went to a man, they got around us. We went to a zone, they got around us. We went to our matchup, they got around us.”
The Polar Bears fell behind by 15 early in the frame, before Zyon Dobbs scored five points during a 7-0 run that allowed them to trail 28-20.
Logan Parsons’ putback put RCB up 31-22, but Jones made a pair of shots in the latter stages of the second quarter and Trey Washenitz connected on a 3 to help Fairmont Senior pull to within 33-31 at halftime.
“Our defense in the second quarter was outstanding,” Retton said.
Bridges scored six of his team’s 10 third-quarter points and the Polar Bears pulled even with RCB at 41 entering the fourth.
With RCB trailing 51-48, Gavin Kennedy converted a conventional three-point play to tie the game with 4:45 remaining. But starting with two free throws from Jones at the 4:13 mark, he and Bridges scored 11 of the team’s 13 points down the stretch to help FSHS prevail.
Fairmont Senior made 21-of-26 free throws in the victory, while RCB connected on 4-of-9 attempts.
Bridges finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Jones added 16 points and seven boards.
Dobbs added 12 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Polar Bears, who out-rebounded RCB 34-24.
“The quick start was important and something we always talk about,” Bennett said. “You don’t envision getting out to a lead like we did against them.
“But the thing we preached was trying to limit their opportunities on the offensive boards, which we watched them do all year and that’s how they can really hurt you. They just play so hard and have a lot of size.”
Miles led the Eagles with 22 points, while Tanner Kennedy added 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists in defeat.