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Fairfield moves to 10-0; gains wins over Federal Hocking, Paint Valley 

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Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

The past two games to end the 2023 portion, and to begin the 2024 part, of this season’s schedule had the same result, that being the Fairfield Lions gaining wins in non-conference battles. 

On Saturday, Dec. 30, the Lions earned a non-conference win at Albany Alexander, with the Lions winning 60-47 against Federal Hocking in a holiday classic event. 

From there, the Lions won on Thursday night on the road in a non-conference contest against the host Paint Valley Bearcats, winning convincingly by a 70-45 score. 

In the game on Saturday (Dec. 30), the Lions jumped out of the gate with a 20-point first quarter, while Federal Hocking settled for 10 points in the same quarter of play. 

The second frame saw Federal Hocking add 19 points to their overall total, while the Lions were held to 10 points, leaving Fairfield in front by one point at 30-29 when halftime arrived. 

The third quarter may have been the strongest overall quarter for the Lions, with their defense holding Federal Hocking to four points, while FHS scored 16 points for a 46-33 lead. Possessing a 13-point lead entering the fourth quarter, the Lions finished by scoring another 14 points, and Federal Hocking also scored 14 points in the final quarter to complete the win for the Lions. 

Fairfield had four players score at least 10 points in the win, starting with Larkin Friend totaling a team-high 16 points. The senior scored four two-point field goals, sank a 3-pointer and was an impressive 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. 

Trey House was next with 14 points, also scoring points with four two-point baskets, plus he added a 3-pointer of his own and was 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. 

Logan McIntosh finished the game with 11 points as he also made four two-point baskets and a 3-pointer. 

Gabe Fouch was the fourth Fairfield player to score in double figures with 10 points, as he connected with five two-point shots in the non-conference victory by the Lions. 

Cade Miller scored seven points in the Fairfield win, as his points were off a 3-pointer and a perfect 4-of-4 performance from the free-throw line. Chase Newman chipped in with two points off a two-point bucket. 

In all, the Lions totaled 18 two-point baskets, four 3-pointers and were 12-of-14 from the free-throw line. 

Federal Hocking was led by Andrew Airhart with 19 points and Tariq Cottrill with 15 points. 

On Tuesday, Jan. 2, the Lions rang in the new year with another victory, their 10th win this season in as many chances, defeating the Paint Valley Bearcats 70-45 at PVHS in Ross County. 

The Lions (10-0) dominated the first quarter with a 20-6 scoring differential to bargain the game. When halftime arrived, the Lions still held on to a 35-25 lead after being outscored 19-15 in the second quarter. 

Fairfield had a strong third frame with 19 points, and their defense kept the Bearcats at 11 points for a 54-36 lead. In the fourth quarter, the Lions broke away from the Bearcats, scoring 16 points, while their defense held Paint Valley to nine points to seal the 25-point win. 

Like their previous game, the Lions had four players reach double-figure scoring. Friend led the way with 18 points as he made two 3-pointers and six two-point baskets. 

Fouch finished with 14 points in the win by the Lions, as he sank two 3-pointers and four two-point buckets. 

House finished the win with 13 points, connecting with a two-point basket, three 3-pointers and he was 2-of-4 from the free-throw line. McIntosh scored 12 points for the Lions, as he made six two-point field goals. 

Also for Fairfield, Miller totaled nine points off three 3-pointers, and Newman finished with four points off two baskets. 

The Lions as a team totaled 19 two-point baskets, 10 3-pointers and were 2-of-4 from the free-throw line. 

The win moves Fairfield to 10-0 overall, as they’ve now won 33 consecutive regular-season games. Next for the Lions is a game on Friday, Jan. 5 at home against the Whiteoak Wildcats in Southern Hills Athletic Conference action at around 7:30 p.m. at Grandle Gymnasium.

The Lions are 6-0 in the SHAC Division II standings, while the Wildcats are 3-0 in the SHAC Div. II standings and 3-3 overall.