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Griffins season sees disappointing end

First Posted: 10:05 am - February 26th, 2016

By James Inabinet - jinabinet@civitasmedia.com



Brandon Adams pulls up for a jump shot against Cheraw.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Brandon Adams shoots over the Cheraw defense in the first round of the 2A playoffs.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Brandon Adams gets a layup against Keenan.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Chandon Davis puts up a three pointer against Keenan.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Chandon Davis puts up a shot after driving against Cheraw.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Akyel Richmond puts up an acrobatic shot after driving against Cheraw.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Akyel Richmond gets a layup after a fast break against Keenan.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Akyel Richmond gets the easy basket after a fast break against Cheraw.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Marcus Gibbs puts up a three pointer against Cheraw.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Marcus Gibbs drives to the basket against Keenan.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
Marcus Gibbs passes the ball after drawing the Keenan defense.
James Inabinet | The Herald Independent
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WINNSBORO — The Fairfield Central Griffins capped off their regular season Friday night by doing something no 2A Region III team had done since 2010: beat the Keenan Raiders.

While the win did not change their second place finish in the region standings, it did provide a solid jump going into the post season.

The Griffins came out early and used a solid defensive effort to hold Keenan down early. That defense, combined with quality shooting, gave the boys a chance to build an early lead. Once they got that lead, they never let up.

Akyel Richmond led the way with a double-double. Richmond had 14 rebounds to go with his 14 points. Brandon Adams led the Griffins in scoring with 23.

Coach Devin Liferidge said he was proud of the way his team played.

“This game meant nothing on paper, but it meant everything for us for momentum and beating a really quality team heading into the playoff that hasn’t been beat in a long time in region play,” he said.

Keenan came into the game with a 61-game winning streak in region play. The Raiders will head into the playoffs with a #1 seed as they attempt to defend their state title. Fairfield Central will now go into the playoffs with a #2 seed and a new confidence in their ability.

Even with the impressive win over Keenan, the Griffins have still not yet played their best game.

“It’s scary, it’s getting late, but I think we’re peaking right now,” Liferidge said. “We’re playing our best basketball right now, and as a coach, no matter what sport you’re playing, you want to be playing your best going into the post season.”

The Griffins then faced Cheraw at home in the first round of the playoffs. The Braves proved a difficult opponent and, after the Griffins built an early lead, were able to hang around long enough to be a threat at the end.

That threat turned to downright disappointment for Fairfield Central as Cheraw pulled off the 49-43 upset. The loss left several Griffins struggling to make sense of the game.

Liferidge said it was a tough loss to take.

“I felt the best basketball we played in the first five minutes, we jumped on them 9-0,” he said. “From there, we had opportunity after opportunity and we just couldn’t get consistently, we’re such a rhythm team. They broke up our rhythm, and I give them credit.”

Moving forward, Liferidge said that it is important to keep the basic formula and improve on it.

“I don’t feel like we’re doing anything that’s hindering us, I just feel like we’ve got to get a little bit better,” he said. “That was goal before the season, to get a little bit better, to get over this hump, coming in second in the region and tipping out in the early rounds. Obviously we’re not there yet, and a lot of that is on me.”

Brandon Adams pulls up for a jump shot against Cheraw.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_BA-jumper-3-.jpgBrandon Adams pulls up for a jump shot against Cheraw. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Brandon Adams shoots over the Cheraw defense in the first round of the 2A playoffs.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_BA-jumper.jpgBrandon Adams shoots over the Cheraw defense in the first round of the 2A playoffs. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Brandon Adams gets a layup against Keenan.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Brandon-layup.jpgBrandon Adams gets a layup against Keenan. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Chandon Davis puts up a three pointer against Keenan.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Chandon-3-pt.jpgChandon Davis puts up a three pointer against Keenan. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Chandon Davis puts up a shot after driving against Cheraw.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Chandon-layup.jpgChandon Davis puts up a shot after driving against Cheraw. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Akyel Richmond puts up an acrobatic shot after driving against Cheraw.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Cleet-contested-shot.jpgAkyel Richmond puts up an acrobatic shot after driving against Cheraw. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Akyel Richmond gets a layup after a fast break against Keenan.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Cleet-fast-break-layup-Keenan.jpgAkyel Richmond gets a layup after a fast break against Keenan. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Akyel Richmond gets the easy basket after a fast break against Cheraw.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Cleet-fast-break-layup.jpgAkyel Richmond gets the easy basket after a fast break against Cheraw. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Marcus Gibbs puts up a three pointer against Cheraw.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Marcus-3-pt.jpgMarcus Gibbs puts up a three pointer against Cheraw. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Marcus Gibbs drives to the basket against Keenan.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Marcus-driving.jpgMarcus Gibbs drives to the basket against Keenan. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

Marcus Gibbs passes the ball after drawing the Keenan defense.
http://heraldindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Marcus-jump-pass.jpgMarcus Gibbs passes the ball after drawing the Keenan defense. James Inabinet | The Herald Independent

By James Inabinet

jinabinet@civitasmedia.com

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