ELYRIA — Fairview won its 20th straight game Monday night and set a school record in the process.
Keystone gave the Warriors a test, but was left looking to next season.
The Warriors defeated the Wildcats 45-30 in a Division II district semifinal at Elyria High, improving to 21-3 for the season. They broke the single-season victory record of 20, set by last year’s team.
And it was Fairview coach Bill Harvey’s 100th win.
With the victory, Fairview advances to Friday’s district final against either Vermilion or Holy Name, which meet in a district semi tonight on the same floor. It will be only the second district final appearance in the history of the Warriors’ program.
Fairview won it with defense, which is nothing new considering it has held opponents to an average of 30.2 points a game this season.
They also made nearly 40 percent of their field-goal attempts, 13 of 18 foul shots and dictated the tempo with defensive pressure.
As impressive as its statistics and 15-point victory margin might seem, Fairview didn’t simply walk away with the win.
Keystone (13-11) was within 34-30 with half the fourth quarter to play. But Fairview created the final score with an 11-0 run.
Keystone made a game of it by scoring the last four points of the third quarter on baskets by senior Darcy Irish and freshman McKenah Peters, and the first four of the fourth, which cut the deficit to 31-27. The field goals came courtesy of Irish and another freshman, Roni Benko.
But the Warriors pulled away in the fourth with senior guard Katie Smith scoring seven of her game-high 24 points. Even when the Wildcats pulled within four points late in the game, neither Smith nor her teammates were worried.
“We weren’t really concerned, I have trust in my team and we were confident,” said Smith, who went in averaging 17.7 points a game. “Yeah, they made a little run, but we made a run right back at them.”
Smith also hit three of Fairview’s 3-point baskets, giving her 57 for the season.
The Wildcats got a team-high 10 points from Irish and nine from Peters. Coach Scott Terry said he was pleased with the way his team fought back.
“You have to give Fairview credit, because they made us play at a tempo that wasn’t good for us but was very good for them,” Terry said. “We didn’t execute well and even when we did execute well, we didn’t make shots. It wasn’t our night tonight, but I’m proud of the way the girls battled.”
Keystone made as many baskets as Fairview (14) but failed to connect on any of seven 3-point attempts. The Warriors were 4-for-9 outside the arc. And the Wildcats had an abominable night at the foul line, making just two of 11 free throws. The Warriors made 13 of 18 foul shots.
Harvey, whose Warriors were eliminated in a district semifinal last season, was ecstatic.
“This group of kids is special,” he said. “When I took over four years ago, this group bought in. For me to get my 100th win tonight means the world, and it’s just been a great ride.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairview 45, Keystone 30
KEYSTONE (30): Jena Copley 1-1-3, Madi Bonner 0-0-0, Sammie Stefan 0-0-0, Darcy Irish 5-0-10, Jillian Peters 1-0-2, McKenah Peters 4-1-9, Roni Benko 3-0-6. Totals 14-2-30.
FAIRVIEW (45): Cate Schmiedl 1-0-2, Jenny Mylett 0-0-0, Bri Kovacevich 0-0-0, Katie Smith 7-7-24, Kelsey Bilak 1-0-3, Rachel Malloy 1-1-3, Megan Coyne 2-4-8, Kaprina Hawkinson 2-1-5. Totals 14-13-45.
Keystone 2 12 9 7 — 30
Fairview 7 15 9 14 — 45
Three-point goals: Keystone 0-7, Fairview 4-9 (Smith 3, Bilak). Field goals: Keystone 14-49 (28.6 percent), Fairview 14-36 (38.9 percent). Free throws: Keystone 2-11, Fairview 13-18. Rebounds: Keystone 26, Fairview 34. Turnovers: Keystone 10, Fairview 13.