Ronier Peters (15 points) and Fairfax got a big Patriot District road win Tuesday night.

Fairfax seniors out-physical Woodson on Cavaliers’ Senior Night, 62-57

Last night #14 Woodson started five of its six seniors to honor them on senior night. However, Fairfax starts five seniors every night, and Tuesday the Lions’ seniors delivered, leading Fairfax past Woodson 62-57 in a Patriot District battle.

“Our trick is we have a lot of good seniors,” said Fairfax Coach Mike Barbee. “We got a great team, he’s [Woodson Coach Doug Craig] got some good seniors, he’s also got a lot of underclassmen. I think that extra year in the weight room makes a little bit of a difference.”

It seemed to on this evening. Fairfax’s senior starting lineup out-rebounded Woodson’s entire team 37-23. When Woodson’s starting lineup of seniors jumped to an 8-0 lead in front of a raucous Cavaliers crowd, Fairfax never panicked. Barbee just called a time out and Fairfax got right back in the game.

“We came in, we knew it was going to be a packed crowd,” said Fairfax senior guard Ronier Peters. “This game focused on staying composed and running offense, and it worked. We first came out really slow…we knew we had to step up, play more defense, talk more.”

The Lions (8-5, 14-7) tied the game at eight after a time out, and a back-and-forth game ensued for the next three quarters. Woodson shot the ball fairly well, and Fairfax pounded the offensive glass to get second chances at the rim.

Woodson freshman sensation Kaylen Chilton didn’t score in the first half, but delivered four three-pointers in the second half coming off the bench. Cavaliers junior Theo Burke delivered three key assists at the end of quarters, including one to senior Sean Donovan (11 points, seven rebounds) for a dunk. It seemed like every time Woodson grabbed momentum and got the home crowd charged up, Fairfax calmly responded.

Fairfax was coming off a 72-35 road loss to #10 West Potomac, so the win was in itself an impressive response to adversity.

The Cavs had a hard time matching the physicality of Fairfax senior Cam Love (18 points, 14 rebounds).

“The second half last game we didn’t stay composed,” said Peters. “West Potomac was a very terrible game, we had to bounce back…we play together, we win a lot of games.”

Peters (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Cam Love (18 points, 14 rebounds) did a lot of damage against Woodson at the rim, as did many of the Lions. Woodson’s tall front line blocked some shots, but Fairfax kept after the rebounds and continued to attack the paint. A key drive with just over three minutes left in the game by Fairfax’s Malachi Mercy made it 50-47 Lions.

After that, the visitors were able to play keep away a little bit with the ball and force Woodson to send them to the line. There the Lions delivered, sealing the game. The difference was exacerbated late, but Fairfax used its senior physicality to get to the line and make more than twice as many free throws as Woodson.

“That’s honestly how we’ve won games this year, we try to be a balanced team, but we try to be a very, very physical team and get points inside,” said Barbee. “Tonight we got back to our basics and said let’s get the ball in the paint where we’re at our best.”

The win had standings implications in the hotly-contested Patriot District. Woodson (9-4, 14-7) fell out of a tie with West Potomac for second place into third. The Cavs are now a game ahead of Fairfax and South County, who are tied for fourth place. Seeding is important for the district (and then regional) tournament, and there is only regular season game left for each Patriot team.

–Chris Jollay

all statistics are unofficial

PETERS 6-17 3-4  15  13  4
THOMAS 2-8 4-5  8  4  0
SMITH 1-2 2-2  5  2  1
LOVE 5-12 7-8  18  14  3
MERCY 2-10 1-4  5  4  0
Choijilsuren 1-3 4-4  7  0  1
Healy 1-3 0-0  3  0  0
Young 0-0 1-2  1  1  0
TOTALS 18-55 22-29  62  38  9
Threes: Smith 1-2, Healy 1-2, Choijilsuren 1-3, Love 1-4, Peters 0-1, Thomas 0-3, Mercy 0-4
CONKLIN 1-2 0-0  3  1   1
GRABO 0-2 2-2  2  1   2
TRYON 0-2 0-0  0  0   1
SPURLOCK 2-2 0-0  5  3   0
B.DONOVAN 1-1 1-2  3  2   0
S.Donovan 4-6 3-3  11  7   0
Limbago 5-9 1-2  11  2   1
Chilton 4-14 0-0  12  1   2
Burke 2-3 2-2  6  5   3
Gantumur 1-2 0-0  3  1   0
Taylor 0-0 0-0  0  0   0
Morgan 0-0 1-2  1  0   0
TOTALS 20-43 10-13  57  23   10
Threes: Chilton 4-12, Spurlock 1-1, Gantumur 1-2, Conklin    1-2 ,Tryon 0-1, S.Donovan 0-1, Limbago 0-1, Burke 0-1