COUNTY BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT: Fairview punches ticket to semifinals with 64-44 win over Vinemont

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Fairview’s Cade Yeager (2) drives to the basket during the Aggies’ 64-44 win over Vinemont Monday night. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The Fairview Aggies and Vinemont Eagles battled it out in Monday night’s final county tournament matchup and after building a 32-18 lead in the first half, the Aggies continued pulling away in the second half to earn a 64-44 win over the Eagles and advance to the varsity boys’ semifinals.

The Aggies got off to a strong start against the Eagles, taking an early 6-0 lead thanks to baskets from Cade Yeager and Kobe Payne. Jeremy Harbison knocked down a three to get Vinemont on the board and trim the lead to 6-3 but baskets by Payne and Colt Fletcher gave Fairview a 10-3 lead. Jaxon Holcomb hit a pair of free throws midway through the first quarter to make it a 10-5 game and Isaiah Jones added two more shots from the line to bring the lead down to 10-7. Jac Dunn laid one in to keep the Aggies ahead 12-7 and after Harbison answered with a pair of free throws on the other end, Landun Smith scored inside just before the end of the first to give Fairview a 14-9 lead going into the second.

Black Rickard exchanged baskets with Harbison early in the second quarter to make it a 16-11 game but another score in the paint by Smith and a three-pointer Fletcher put the Aggies on top 21-11 midway through the period. Holcomb and Harbison each drilled three-pointers to cut Fairview’s lead to 21-17 with just over two minutes to play in the first half and Jones split a pair of free throws to make it a 3-point game.

Baskets by Rickard and Smith added to the Aggie lead early in the third quarter and after another score from Rickard, Payne laid one in to put Fairview in front 35-18. Baskets by Jones and Holcomb on the other end trimmed the lead to 35-22 midway through the third. Fletcher scored inside and Payne sank a pair of free throws to keep Fairview on top 39-25 with just over two minutes remaining in the third and just before the final buzzer sounded on the quarter, Payne buried a three-pointer to give the Aggies a 46-32 lead at the start of the fourth.

A basket and a pair of free throws from Rickard made it a 50-33 game early in the fourth quarter and Smith scored inside on back to back possessions to keep Fairview in front 54-37 with just over four minutes to play. After another Rickard score and a pair of Payne free throws, Harbison laid one in to cut the lead to 58-41 with two minutes remaining but that was as close as the Eagles could get and the Aggies held on to win it 64-44 and advance to the semifinals.

Payne led the Aggies with 18 points in the win, followed by Smith with 12. Harbison led the way for Vinemont with 17 points in the loss.

The Aggies will be back in action Friday night, facing top-seeded Good Hope in the varsity boys’ semifinals.

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