Don?t call the Trojans 57-53 overtime win Thursday night at Knoxville a comeback.
It is true that the Fairfield boys? basketball team trailed 28-18 at the half, but that was before mounting a resurgence that included two six-minute defensive stretches in the second half where the Trojans held Knoxville scoreless. Meanwhile, offensively they outscored the Panthers 16-3 in the third and had run even in the final eight minutes before Knoxville hit a 28 foot shot at the end of regulation to tie the game at 48 and send the game to extra time.
Fairfield sprinted to a 9-5 advantage to claim their 13th victory of the season, including their ninth in a row.
Statistically the team was led in scoring by junior Tristin Waugh who shot 7-10 from the field including 1-2 free throws. Senior Dante Cingire was 3-8 from the field, including 3-7 from deep and 6-8 from the charity stripe. He also had a team-high six assists. Austin Simpson had double figures as well, with 12 points to go with his seven boards, and sophomore Drew Martin had five points off the bench while leading the team in rebounds with eight.
Besides Waugh and Cingire who were offensively efficient shooting a combined 10-18, Fairfield as a the team did struggle a bit, shooting 10-29 overall and 4-16 from the foul line.
Other stat lines were: Carson Crile four points and five steals; Cole Engle three points; and Collin Breen two points, three assists and two steals.
Next for the Trojans is a road trip to Solon Monday to face SEC rival Washington. Fairfield is 2-0 this season versus the Demons, defeating them 60-51 way back on Dec. 8 at Washington for Head Coach Mick Flattery?s first victory in his return to coaching the guys. The Trojans also bested the Demons at home Jan. 19 69-58 to start their current winning streak.
Tipoff is at 6 p.m. with the winner returning to Solon Thursday night to play the winner of the host Spartans and Keokuk.
If Fairfield can get two wins next week, they will face the remaining team from the top half of the bracket in the Class 3A substate 5 final in Muscatine Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.
Possible opponents are Mt. Pleasant, West Liberty, Fort Madison and Iowa City Liberty.
Fairfield was 3-3 against those four teams.