WINNSBORO — The Fairfield Central Griffins win streak came to end last week when Newberry came to town and pulled out the 84-81 upset.
The Griffins, now 9-2 in the region, rebounded with a big win on Senior Night against Mid-Carolina.
The rival Newberry Bulldogs came in to Friday night looking to even their record in the region and wanting payback against the Griffins. With a packed house and Fairfield Central putting on a Black Out, the Bulldogs did just that, keeping the game close and making defensive stops when it counted.
The Griffins, for their part, were never out of the game. With several lead changes throughout the first three quarters, they were just a few plays from putting themselves in the driver’s seat.
Despite a stellar effort from Brandon Adams, who had 31 points, the Griffins struggled most of the night.
Both teams were called for fouls on a regular basis as more than 40 penalties were called during the game, including several technical fouls.
Coach Devin Liferidge said the loss was squarely on him and his team.
“We’ve put ourselves in that situation over and over and over again, and we’ve been fortunate enough to be on the winning side of it, but I told them that’s not the recipe for success, trying to play hero ball,” Liferidge said.
While the Griffins didn’t play up their capabilities, Liferidge gave credit to Newberry for their approach to the game.
“Newberry played more desperate than we did,” he said. “We picked it up at the end because we knew we had to, but they sustained that the entire game and that was the difference.”
Tuesday night, with the Griffins celebrating Senior Night, things got back on track with Mid Carolina visiting. After a close first quarter that saw several seniors playing emotional ball, the Griffins began pulling away.
By the end of the third quarter, the Griffins were up 15 and everyone was getting playing time. This was especially important with several players fighting through injuries.
When the final buzzer sounded, Fairfield Central had prevailed on Senior Night with a 69-46 drubbing of the Rebels, leaving Keenan as the only remaining regular season game.
Coach Liferidge said he was expecting a big win and was happy to see it.
“This was what I expected to happen the first time we played,” he said. “We said in the second half, if we do what we’re supposed to do, no disrespect to Mid Carolina, but the game is in hand.”
Liferidge was concerned about the emotion of his seniors coming into the game.
“Honestly, I kind of thought they were too emotional. It’s a tough night, some of these guys have been talking about this night for months now, not looking forward to it,” he said. “They know the finality of it.”
With his team playing in flashes this year, Liferidge said he hopes to extend those as the Griffins get ready for the playoffs.
“We’re a team that plays in spurts, and sometimes we can extend those a little bit,” Liferidge said. “I thought we got one of those tonight and it took the life out of them.”
Reach James Inabinet at (803) 635-4016.