By Dave Morrison
ESPN Radio 102.3 The Ticket
CHARLESTON – Those drinking from the glass that is half full can certainly find a lot behind Fayetteville’s basketball season.
None of that matters at the moment. It will, but not right now.
Madonna saw to that.
The Blue Dons took advantage of Fayetteville’s ice-cold shooting in a 44-32 victory in the quarterfinals of the Class A state tournament Wednesday at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Pirates end the season with a 24-1 record. The 24 wins are the most in school history. Fayetteville is still the only one-loss team in the state.
“Defensively, we did what we wanted to do,” Fayetteville coach Matt Boyd said. “If you told me we would hold them to 44 points, I would have taken that. We just didn’t shoot well. We had guys missing shots and those guys are good shooters.”
Nobody scored in double figures for Fayetteville. Will Fenton led the way with six points. He did have 11 rebounds. Fellow double-figure scorers Marcus Lively and Ricky Meadows were limited to five and zero points respectively.
Fayetteville entered the game averaging 65 points per game. The Pirates never could find a rhythm and finished hitting just 12 of 53 shots (22.6 percent) and just 2 of 23 from 3-point range (8.7 percent).
“We told our kids if they get any daylight (from 3) put three on the board because they arer good shooters,” Madonna coach Chris Blair said. “We wanted to run them off the 3-point line. I thought our kids did a good job of that.”
A key run came late in the second quarter, when Madonna ended the half on a 6-0 run to go up 23-13 at the break. Dalton Dempsey, who had been on Joey Ewusiak, was on the bench in foul trouble at that point.
“We were struggling to find someone to guard (Ewusiak),” Boyd said.
Ewusiak, who had 21 points, had all six of the points to end the half.
“He’s a big body, a guy who does the dirty work, as we like to say,” Blair said of Dempsey. “He’s a great defender. We were able to take advantage of that situation.”
Five points to start the third made it 28-13 and Fayetteville never could recover. The Pirates had opportunities but never could convert at key times.
At one point, Ewusiak had 21 points to Fayetteville’s 20.
Any chance the Pirates had of coming back evaporated between the third and fourth quarters, causing the proverbial glass to be half empty rather than full, when the Pirates went 7:52 without a basket.
Madonna increased its lead to 41-20 in that span, before Will Fenton’s layup.
“We just didn’t shoot the ball well and I don’t know why,” Boyd said, standing in the tunnel nearly empty as Madonna’s press conference got underway. “That happens sometimes down here. It is what it is. These guys had a great run, and like I told them, it’s going to hurt but they had a great season. These seniors had great careers. They went 12-1 in football and 24-1 in basketball. Not a lot of people can say that.”
Tavon Jeter had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Madonna, who will face the Ravenswood/St. Joe’s winner Friday at 9:30 a.m.
Fayetteville still finished with the schools best record, 24-1, and the Pirates were the only