Pioneers survive scare, come back for win, 57-54
By CHAD DRURY
FAIRFIELD Its safe to say fate rests on the Fairfield Maharishi boys basketball teams side.
The sixth-ranked (Class 2A) Pioneers, left for dead in Monday nights rescheduled battle with Central Lee at the Field House, erupted with a 19-2 run in the fourth quarter for a 57-54 victory and the outright SEI Superconference West Division title, the first unshared title for the Pioneers in school history.
Central Lee put it all on the line, said Pioneers coach Harley Carter. They came in primed for an upset and had every intention of winning.
After Fairfield Maharishi claimed a 6-2 lead in the games first three minutes, Central Lee dominated, taking a 19-12 lead after a quarter of play. Central Lee held a 32-22 lead at halftime, and Carter said his team didnt execute well in the first half. We gave Ben Vogel a lot of open looks, said Carter in reference to Vogels three first-half 3-pointers. Offensively, we rushed a lot of shots.
Pioneer leading scorer Zach Silverman made only 2-of-8 shots in the first half and had 11 points for the game. No Pioneer player made a 3-pointer in the first half. The Pioneer struggles continued in the third quarter, as Central Lee gained confidence.
Central Lee and Fairfield Maharishi traded baskets for much of the quarter, as the Hawks built a 51-38 advantage heading into the final eight minutes. The Pioneers biggest challenge of the season awaited them in the final eight minutes, the only question was if theyd be up to it.
After Central Lee scored to make it 52-38 with 6:53 left, the Pioneers rose to the challenge. David Dannemann hit a 3-pointer to cut it to 52-41. After a Central Lee miss, Dannemann converted a layup to make it 52-43. The Hawks missed again, and Danny Duszynski made a layup to trim the score to 52-45. The Pioneers trapped the Hawks and forced turnovers, and a Michael Hauptman feed to Duszynski made it 52-47. The Hawks missed a 3-pointer at the other end, but the Pioneers couldnt take advantage.
Hauptmann and Ben Stone converted points to cut it to 52-49, and Stone made it a one-point game with three minutes left. Central Lee scored its first points in five minutes with a free throw for a 53-51 lead, but Dannemann tied it with a twisting layup with 1:48 left. The Hawks made another free throw for a 54-53 lead, but Silverman saved an out-of-bounds pass and Stone drilled a tough shot, giving the Pioneers their first lead, 55-54, since they led 6-2. Dannemann hit a pair of free throws to seal the contest for the Pioneers (18-1).
Our defense was what won it for us, Carter said. We turned it up, and we got a lot of steals and clutch shots. I think Central Lee thought they had the game won.
The Pioneers shot 50 percent from the floor (23-of-46), while the Hawks shot 43 percent (20-of-46). Silverman led the Pioneers with 10 rebounds, while Stone added seven and Duszynski had five. The Pioneers outrebounded the Hawks 29-20. Duszynski had eight assists and four steals for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers host West Burlington tonight.
CENTRAL LEE (54)
FAIRFIELD MAHARISHI (57)
Danny Duszynski 4 2-2 10, Willy Mullenneaux 0 0-0 0, Zach Silverman 5 1-2 11, Brandon Au 1 0-0 2, David Dannemann 3 2-3 9, Josh Meade 0 0-0 0, Alek Lisefski 2 0-0 4, Michael Hauptman 1 1-2 3, Benek Lisefski 2 0-0 5, Ben Stone 5 3-4 13. Totals: 23 9-13 57.
Fouls: Central Lee 17, Maharishi 17. 3-point goals: Vogel 5, AnCrozier, Dannemann, BLisefski. Records: Central Lee 10-7 (8-3), Maharishi 18-1 (11-0).