JV COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Pace’s buzzer-beater leads Fairview 40-37 championship win over West Point

Fairview’s Gavin Pace (11) knocked down a game-winning three at the buzzer to lead the Aggies to a 40-37 win over West Point in Saturday’s JV Boys County Championship Game. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Our second championship game from the Cullman County Tournament Saturday afternoon was another JV matchup and this one featured the West Point Warriors and the Aggies of Fairview. The Aggies led by 10 at halftime but the Warriors stormed back in the second half to tie the game late in the final frame. However, just before the final buzzer sounded, Fairview’s Gavin Pace buried his fourth three-pointer of the night to give the Aggies a 40-37 win and this year’s JV Boys’ county championship.

Maddox Chapman and Jac Dunn traded baskets back and forth to make it a 4-4 game early in the opening period and Chapman laid another one in later in the first to give West point a 6-5 lead. A free throw from Carson Jones tied things up at 6 with less than two minutes to play in the quarter and a three-pointer from Zayden Cruce put the Aggies in front 9-6 going into the second.

A pair of Trace Richardson free throws and a basket from Gavin Pace extended Fairview’s lead to 13-6 midway through the second quarter. Pace sank two more free throws later in the period to make it a 15-6 game and buckets from Jones and Richardson made it 19-6 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. A three-pointer by West Point’s Cade Welborn stopped a 13-0 Aggie run and Jaxon Shelton scored inside to trim the lead to 19-11 but Pace scored another basket for Fairview with 30 seconds on the clock to give the Aggies a 21-11 lead at the break.

The Warriors began to close the gap in the third quarter. Chapman laid one in to bring the lead down to single digits and Welborn scored on back to back possessions to make it 24-18 with four minutes to play in the period. Baskets by Chapman and Shelton made it a 2-point game midway through the third but Pace stopped the run with a three on the other end to put Fairview up 27-22. Pace and Cruce drilled a pair of three-pointers later in the quarter to stretch the lead to 33-25 but another score from Chapman and a free throw from Shelton cut the lead to 33-28 going into the fourth quarter.

Chapman drove to the basket and scored to make it a 33-30 game at the start of the fourth but Pace got the points back with a bucket on the other end to keep the Aggies ahead by 5. Welborn buried another three from the left wing to trim the lead to 35-33 later in the period and Brier Taylor laid one in tie the game at 35 with two minutes remaining. Richardson sank a pair of free throws to give Fairview a 37-35 lead, but Taylor answered with another basket for Fairview to keep the score tied at 37 with 52 seconds on the clock. The Aggies took over possession and let the clock run down as much as they could before taking a shot but as the final seconds ticked away, Pace let go of a three-pointer from the right corner and knocked it down just before the buzzer to give Fairview a dramatic, 40-37 win over West Point.

Pace led the Aggies with 21 points in the win, followed by Cruce and Richardson with six. Chapman led the Warriors with 16 points in the loss and Welborn added 11.

2023 JV Boys All-County Tournament Team

Zayden Cruce, Fairview

Brier Taylor, West Point

Callahan Lindsey, Good Hope

Maddox Chapman, West Point

Colton Gillis, Vinemont

TB Pendley, West Point

Gavin Pace, Fairview

Kaden Graham, Vinemont

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