Written by Scott Batts/Photography by Melissa Lee
Soaring high for two is Fairfield Eagles #5 EJ Ransom.
The Fairfield Eagles finished the regular season with a perfect 8-0 record and claimed the District 18-4A championship and are the top seed headlining into the playoffs
They finale of the district season was a home game against the Athens Hornets. Fairfield jumped out to an early 4-0 lead but the Hornets hot shooting gave them the lead after one period 14-10.
The Eagles had a spark in the second period and hit six of seven shots midway through the frame. Akeem Jackson scored twice and June Rischer and E.J.Ransom scored on each side of a three pointer by Kolby Adams. Adams hit another later in the period and Jase Oliver and Jailyn Tatum added a late score to tie the game 30-30 at the intermission.
Athens scored early in the second half and took a brief lead and Adams quickly tied the score and Ransom gave the Eagles the lead. Oliver and Adams hit three pointers and the game see-sawed until Tatum and Oliver scored to push the Eagles up 49-45 with eight minutes remaining.
The game remained close with a couple of no look passes, one from Tatum to Oliver and the other from Ransom to Rischer. Ransom scored late in game to put the Eagles ahead 62-60 but the Hornets hit a shot with 32 seconds left and the game went into overtime.
Athens scored the first four points in overtime and Oliver and Ransom scored to take a one point lead. With 1:35 remaining Ransom hit a three pointer and took a 70-69 lead. The Eagle defense kept Athens away from the basket and Tatum hit a free throw and the Hornets could not get into position to score and the Eagles won the game 71-69
The loss put Athens into a three way tie for second place in District 18-4A behind Fairfield. They were tied with Mexia and Madisonville at 4-4.
The teams played a three way tiebreaking tournament, so to speak, at Fairfield’s Johnson Activity Center to determine the seeding for the postseason, since all three would be in.
The teams flipped for position and Mexia was awarded the bye and Madisonville and Athens played on Thursday night. Athens jumped to a lead and had to hold off the Mustangs 60-59, assuring the Hornets would finish no worse than third place seeding with two nights to go. On Friday, Athens took on Mexia and Madisonville waited to see if they would get another game with a Mexia loss. Athens did win 82-70 and clinched the second place spot for the playoffs. On Saturday, Mexia and Madisonville returned to Fairfield to determine third and fourth. Mexia dominated Madisonville 60-44, so Mexia takes the third place spot and Madisonville the final playoff spot.
The Fairfield Eagle Junior Varsity finished the season with a 25-0 season under head JV coach Brian Baize. The team did lose three games but it was in the Fairfield Tournament in December to three varsity teams. The junior varsity team included Kadarius Walker, Keishaun Crenshaw, Devin Cunningham, Jaylon Davis, Darrell Jones, Bobby Carter, Tony Carter, Jordan Gibson, Johnny Burns, James Reed and McClinton Jones.
Eagles take a last timeout with their coaches.