ROSS TWP. — The Fairfield High School boys basketball team was ready to run Friday night.
Aamir Rogers and the Indians were all for it.
Rogers registered a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Deshawne Crim scored a game-high 19 points, Ray Coney had 17 points and Fairfield snapped a two-game losing streak with a gritty 74-60 victory over Ross.
“It was a great night with a great atmosphere,” said Rogers, who made note that the Indians were able to get back to playing their fast-paced style. “We knew we had to come out, play quick and play strong coming off those two losses — two big losses.”
Fairfield (8-2) was hunkered down in setbacks to St. Xavier and Elder, and Indians coach DJ Wyrick was pleased to see his program rebound and set the pace on Friday.
“Our emphasis and what we really wanted to do was push the tempo,” Wyrick said. “The last two games they were slower games. They were methodical. We just wanted to find a way to get the thing going up and down, which we finally did more so in the second half.”
Fairfield was also looking to attack the glass against an undersized Ross team. The Indians outrebounded the Rams 46-22, while bucketing 16 second chance points off 19 offensive rebounds.
Mason King had a game-high 12 boards, including 10 on the offensive end, and scored 10 points for Fairfield.
“Just looking at those extra possessions that we created, that means we didn’t turn the ball over and we dominated the offensive boards,” Wyrick said. “That was a goal of ours coming into the game.”
Ross, which shot 12 of 23 (52.2%) from 3-point range, had four players score in double figures. Isaac Nunn led the way with 16 points, Ben Voegele had 12, Will Schaefer had 11 and Riley Caldwell had 10.
“We shot well, which is something we really hang our hat on,” said Rams coach David Lane, who acknowledged Fairfield’s height advantage. “I know you can read the roster, but we’re not the tallest team. We really put a lot of emphasis on balancing by attacking and getting to the free throw line. I think we did a decent job of mixing up the shots and getting there.
“With the ability of Coney and Crim to get to the rim whenever they want, it’s hard to guard,” Lane added. “They’re a mismatch for a lot of teams.”
Ross (6-2) made up that difference with its outside shooting.
Fairfield took a 12-9 lead into the second quarter, which didn’t see too much separation. The Indians’ largest lead in the first half was on a King bucket that made it 20-12 with 5:55 left in the second quarter.
Ross knocked down seven 3-point shots in the third quarter to keep things within reach. Crim and Rogers scored a combined 19 points in the quarter, and Fairfield led 53-46 going into the fourth.
Nunn’s two free throws pulled the Rams to within 56-54 with 5:51 left to play, capping off a Ross 8-0 run.
“I’ll take it every single day of the week,” Lane said of his Rams cutting the margin late in the game. “The big thing was that I think we made a couple bad turnovers in some crucial situations.”
The Indians supplied full-court pressure defense and outscored the Rams 18-6 the rest of the way to halt Ross’s six-game winning streak.
“You have to give them a lot of credit, especially their guards for stepping up in the second half,” Lane said. “I’m sure Coach Wyrick got on them a little bit as far as getting to the rim. They did that. They did a good job.
“But I told my guys that I was extremely proud of how they competed,” Lane added. “On paper, nobody gives us a chance outside. But I think our guys showed a lot of what Ross basketball can be about.”
Both teams get back to action on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Ross hosts Wyoming, while Fairfield travels to Colerain.