The Times West Virginian

Sports

January 11, 2014

No. 9 FSHS uses strong start to coast past B-U: PHOTOS

FAIRMONT — No. 9 Fairmont Senior used a quick run to open the game as the Polar Bears coasted ahead of Buckhannon-Upshur for a 56-35 win Friday night at the Woody Williams Armory.

Fairmont Senior (4-3, 3-1 Big 10) opened the game on an 11-0 run that covered the first 5:19 of the game, and Buckhannon-Upshur (3-4, 0-4 Big 10) would never be able to catch up, trailing the entire way.

“That’s something we wanted to do starting off,” junior guard Darhius Nunn said of the fast start. “We just wanted to start off good and continue from it.”

Head coach David Retton said that his team is finally starting to mesh together after the win, noting solid defensive play as the key.

“I think offensively, our timing wasn’t clicking, but that’s OK. You’re going to go through games where that’s going to happen,” he said. “However, what we did, I think, defensively was just outstanding tonight. We did a great job pressuring the ball. We’re making progress. That’s the biggest thing we can take from this game and to keep moving in a forward direction.”

The defense, led by Nunn and Tavon Horton’s pressure on the perimeter, forced a plethora of turnovers that led to buckets in transition for the Polar Bears.

After the Buccaneers scored their first points of the game, Nunn silenced them with a step-back jumper that forced Buckhannon to take a timeout.

“I work on them all the time,” Nunn said of the jumper. “It’s good when I can hit them in the game.”

Nunn finished with 10 points, two assists, two rebounds and two steals.

The rest of the game went the same way, with Fairmont Senior maintaining its lead with the Bucs trying to claw their way back at times.

At one point in the second quarter, B-U pulled within eight points, but Horton made sure its didn’t come any closer.

The 5-foot-8 junior point guard drained a wide-open 3-pointer before stealing the ball on the other end that led to a fast-break layup to put Fairmont Senior up 26-13.

Horton finished with nine points and four assists.

Offensively, Fairmont Senior was led by Joseph Leon’s 11 points off the bench, but Nunn said that the team was focusing on spreading the ball around during the win.

“We just played a good team game on offense and defense,” Nunn said. “We just worked the ball and looked for the open shot.”

Nunn, who usually plays the role of shooting guard, was sometimes tasked with taking over the offense when his teammate, Horton, got a break. Retton said that his guys know that they need to be able to step in and take over different roles at different points in the game, speaking to the versatility of this young Polar Bear team.

“Each game, our guys are understanding their role and playing their role. We’re trying to stress that, hey, your role will change on each possession,” Retton said. “(Nunn and Horton) are learning to play opposite each other, and they have a really good chemistry. Those guys just want to do well.”

While Retton would like for his team to score more points, he was very pleased with the way his team rebounded and said the offense will generate second-chance points if they keep it up.

“We got good offensive rebounding from Michael Holloway, Isaac (Childers), from Joe (Harold), from Blake (Cehajic), and even our guards do a good job of getting in there and getting their hands on balls and keeping possessions alive. It gives us more scoring opportunities,” Retton said. “We’re looking at just different ways to score. The shooting’s going to come.”

Cehajic finished with six points and 10 rebounds, Harold with four points and seven rebounds, Childers with 10 points and four rebounds, and Holloway with four points and 11 rebounds.

The Polar Bears now move to 4-3 on the season and 3-1 in the Big 10. Since dropping the first game of the season to North Marion, Fairmont Senior has won each of its last three conference games.

“We’ve just been more focused and have been doing the little things to help us win,” Nunn said of the resurgence after the first loss.

Retton agreed and said the team is focused on one game at a time.

“Our next practice is the most important one on the schedule. Our next game is the most important game on the schedule. If we keep that mindset then we’re going to keep progressing as a basketball team,” said Retton.

That next game will be Jan. 15 when the Polar Bears host No. 3 Robert C. Byrd at 7:30 p.m.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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