ORANGEBURG — The Fairfield Central Griffins traveled to Orangeburg for the Orangeburg County Sweet 16 tournament in which 16 boys teams and 16 girls teams were to battle it out for the championship.
The tournament featured teams from North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and around the state. The excitement entering the tournament was stopped in its tracks when tournament officials notified Fairfield Central High School that it had been removed from the tournament Monday night.
The tournament included a contract that guaranteed each participating school three games, regardless of wins or losses. According to school officials, the loss of a game constitutes a breach of contract. With that breach, the tournament is required to find another game for the Griffins or pay a sum of $1,000.
The Griffins boys team was being punished for a situation they had no part in. Following a close loss in their opening match against Calhoun County, the Griffins played a great game against Saluda and picked up their first road victory of the season.
The Griffins jumped to an early lead Monday night and never looked back in a 71-52 win against a Saluda team that came into the game with a 7-4 record. Brandon Adams again led the way for Fairfield Central, scoring 19 points.
All but one Griffin scored in the game and everyone got quality playing time and was able to contribute. That was a big plus for coach Devin Liferidge.
“Anytime you have a game like that in the middle of the season, it’s just good everybody gets a chance to touch the ball, because you could go four or five games and you’ll have a group of guys that don’t see the court,” he said. “It’s good for the morale of the team.”
Despite the big victory, coaches always have one area they look to improve upon and Liferidge had one for his players.
“I would say building on communicating on the floor. We always talk about how different we are when we’re talking and communicating, whether it’s offensively or defensively,” he said.
The Griffins return home next week for a home match up with Columbia at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.