Fairbanks’ Andy Higinbotham (5) makes a mad dash after a turnover to score a layup against an incoming Comet. Higinbotham tallied 10 points in the Panthers’ loss to Elgin Saturday night.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Aleksei Pavloff)
Fairbanks suffered a 46-43 boys basketball loss at the hands of the Elgin Comets on Saturday.
The setback came after FHS lost an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we played well for 30 minutes of the game and did everything we were trying to do,” FHS head coach Zach Brown said.
Coming off an Ohio Heritage Conference against Greeneview on Friday, the Panthers looked to continue their momentum.
Fairbanks started out well in the first quarter on Saturday.
FHS held an 11-7 margin over the Comets.
Dylan Tobe hit a pair of field-goals during that time.
Staying somewhat on pace, Fairbanks tallied another 10 points in the second quarter. The Comets steadily improved in the second quarter, scoring another nine points which included a three-point play from Elgin’s Stephen Costillo.
With roughly five minutes to play in the second quarter, Fairbanks’ Andy Higinbotham made his presence felt by scoring back-to-back layups.
Those buckets gave the Panthers a 17-12 margin.
Elgin secured a three-point play shortly after, chopping the lead down to 17-15.
At the halfway point, Fairbanks narrowly led the Comets 21-16.
The halftime discussion involved Brown telling his team to “stay focused and believe in [their game plan].”
Elgin started to claw even further back during the third period.
Carson Rife gave the Comets a six-point boost after scoring two three-pointers.
That was accompanied by another trey from Castillo.
A total of layups added another 15 points for the home squad.
The Comets scored first out of the gate in the third quarter thanks to Rife’s layup.
Struggling just a bit in the third set, Fairbanks kept it consistent by notching another 11-point quarter.
Alex Crowe hit a three-pointer during that stretch.
FHS took a 32-31 edge into the fourth quarter.
Fairbanks climbed to its 11-point advantage with two minutes left in the game.
They could not, however, hold onto the upper hand.
“We had an 11-point lead and did not close it out,” Brown said.
With the Panthers lead at 43-41, Fairbanks’ Dylan Tobe stepped to the charity stripe after being fouled. After missing his free-throw, Elgin found itself down the stretch after regaining possession near mid-court.
With less than 30 seconds left in the matchup, Elgin took the lead with a three-point goal.
A Panther turnover then led to two more Comet points.
Elgin held a 46-43 edge with just 4.4 second left to play.
In a fight or flight moment, Tobe quickly scurried his way down court in an attempt to tie the game.
His shot, though, was unsuccessful at the end of the contest.
With January basketball hitting Ohio, some teams, like Fairbanks, hope to make an impact once it comes time for postseason action. For Brown and his Panthers, their sights and goals are still high.
“I like where we are,” the coach said. “I think we’re continuing to improve each and every day
“We have some big wins and have to keep moving forward in order to win a conference championship.”
Rausch 3-3-9, Feller 0-0-0, Higinbotham 5-0-10, Ziegler 2-0-4, Tobe 3-0-6, Crowe 3-0-6, Tanner Ufferman 4-0-8, Tyler Ufferman 0-0-0. Three-point goals: Crowe 2.
Sager 5-0-12, Castillo 4-3-13, Dugan 0-0-0, Dillon 1-0-2, Rife 5-0-12, Smith 0-0-0, Grim 2-3-7. Three-point goals: Sager 2, Castillo 2, Rife 2.