FAIRFIELD — Reserve Damien Thomas’ putback with 1 second left sent his teammates on the bench – including all the starters – into a frenzy.
The heavy lifting had been done long before as the Fairfield High boys basketball team demolished defending Solano County Athletic Conference champion Bethel 83-46 on Senior Night at Ronald D. Thompson Gymnasium, Thursday.
The win set up a showdown for the SCAC title with Vanden, an 87-52 winner over American Canyon, at Jim Boyd Gym, Tuesday.
The Falcons (22-4, 8-1 SCAC) shot 70 percent or better in each of the first three quarters and led by as many as 42 in the fourth.
“We shot the ball really well,” Fairfield coach Eddie Wilson said. “For a couple of weeks we struggled putting the ball in the hole.”
The Falcons trailed 6-3 in the early going before a John Jones 3-pointer ignited an 18-3 run to end the first quarter. DeMoriaye Hart-Spikes led the way with seven of his 15 points in the period.
The second quarter was remarkably like the first – the Falcons shot 72.7 percent (8 of 11) in both – with Hart-Spikes and Sean Gray each scoring six points.
The Falcons forced 17 turnovers and held a 14-8 rebounding edge over the first two quarters, more reasons they led 42-20 at the break.
“We made shots and (they) turned the ball over,” Wilson said. “When you shoot that well, you’re going to put up a lot of points.”
That was especially true in the third quarter, during which Fairfield outscored the visitors 33-13 to open up a 75-33 bulge.
Gray was especially hot, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and netting eight of his game-high 19 points in the period. Anthony Bryant added all seven of his points for the game in the quarter, while Maurice Trotter had a pair of dunks and finished with eight points.
With a running clock, the fourth quarter lasted exactly 8 minutes.
Wilson downplayed the importance of playing well heading into Tuesday’s showdown.
“I think it’s important we play well – period,” the coach said.
Marcus McCullum and Dakarria Peterson each scored 12 points to lead Bethel (6-19, 1-8), while Marc Williams had 10.
Fairfield rallied to win the JV game 67-57 behind 15 points from Nathan Joseph, 14 to Cameron Ross-Reed and 13 from G’Angelo Jenkins. The Falcons (12-10, 7-2 SCAC) trailed 43-40 before outscoring the Jaguars 27-14 in the fourth quarter.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or pfarmer@dailyrepublic. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.