FAIRFIELD — The Falcons let one slip away.
The Fairfield High boys basketball team started strong, but missed opportunities that ended up costing the Falcons in a 74-70 overtime loss to Miramonte of Orinda in the opening round of the NorCal Regionals at Ronald D. Thompson Gymnasium, Wednesday night.
The Matadors’ Drew Anderson sank a long 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, then a hit a runner in the lane to give his team a 72-70 lead in the extra period that Fairfield couldn’t overcome.
But it was the chances that the Falcons didn’t take advantage of that coach Eddie Wilson couldn’t get past.
“I think it was a winnable game in regulation,” Wilson said. “I thought we had a couple of opportunities early to put them away. Then late, I thought we had a lot of easy ones that we missed. We missed free throws, layups. I thought we took a couple of bad shots that hurt us. But in the end, we don’t always do what we’re supposed to do. There seemed to be some execution issues, but they played until the end and they fight.”
The Falcons (25-7), who trailed 50-47 after three quarters, came storming back in the fourth.
Fairfield scored nine of the quarter’s first 11 points for a 56-52 advantage, but the Matadors scored the next six to regain a 58-56 lead.
But the Falcons responded again, scoring the next five points – including a 3-pointer by Sean Gray – for a 61-68 lead. Gray later hit a layup to give the Falcons a 63-60 lead before Anderson hit his long 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.
Wilson couldn’t help but come back to the point that game’s aren’t always won at the end.
“I think we were very good in the first half,” the coach said. “I think the myth in sports is that games comes down to the end when they can be won or lost early. I would argue that we lost that game early. I think at the end of the half . . . we had a couple of opportunities to put them away. We were up eight and they went on a a 5-0 run. They got open shots that were uncontested. We preached to them all year to value every possession and that got us.”
The Falcons jumped out to a fast start in the opening quarter, grabbing a quick 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Anderson, who finished with a game-high 31 points, led a comeback, though, scoring seven of his team’s first 10 points.
Jordan Jackson and Javon Adams responded with back-to-back buckets to give Fairfield a 12-10 lead before Miramonte eventually tied the score at 15.
Fairfield then scored the quarter’s final six points on baskets by Adams, Anthony Bryant and Shawn Hill for a 21-15 lead after eight minutes.
Anderson then led the Matadors’ comeback in the second period, scoring nine of his team’s 21 points to give Miramonte a slim 36-35 lead at the half.
Adam led the Falcons with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Maurice Trotter had 10 points and six rebounds. Gray and Bryant finished with eight points apiece.
Joey Goodreault added 16 points for Miramonte and Jackson Wegener added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Even with the season coming to an end, Wilson is always looking to the future of the Fairfield High basketball program.
“There were really good pieces there and I think for the most part they tried to do what we coached them to do,” Wilson said. “They fight, they play hard. They’re tough kids. I think that it’s disappointing in a sense that we didn’t play as well as we’re capable of (Wednesday). If you look at it from the big picture, we may have overachieved given the circumstances. . . .
“I think we have opportunities to get ourselves back into the position where we consistently compete. We turn over most of our roster, so the young guys that are back we are going to rely on heavily and the JV pull-ups are going to have to jump on board. I think we have things back in tact, not that we had drifted too far, but I definitely think there’s an opportunity for future success.”