If there’s one word to describe Fairdale’s basketball team it’s balance.
All five of the Bulldogs’ starters entered Friday night’s home game against Seneca averaging double figures in scoring and again all five scored more than 10 points in a 78-59 victory over the Redhawks.
Junior point guard Caleb Longacre, son of head coach Gregg Longacre, scored 11 of the Bulldogs’ first 17 points and wound up with 13. Darren Lowrey, a transfer from Shawnee, and Josh Payne each tallied 16 points and Cory Thomas finished strong, with 11 of his 14 points coming in the fourth quarter.
It’s been that way all season, coach Longacre said after his team’s fifth win in six games.
“We’ve had good balance since our second (pre-season) scrimmage,” Longacre said. “We didn’t share the ball then and I let them know about it. The good thing is that all five of them can score, handle the ball and pass it. If we execute and make the extra pass, we’re pretty good.”
Fairdale broke the game open from a 14-14 tie just after the start of the second quarter on an 8-0 spurt. The Bulldogs ended the period on a 10-0 run for a 37-20 bulge at halftime.
Caleb Longacre hit a 3-pointer to ignite the 8-0 streak after putting up eight points in the first quarter.
“We’re trying to get everybody involved in the offense because we all can score and we’re a good passing team,” the younger Longacre said. “The whole season we’ve had all five starters averaging in double figures.”
Fairdale hosts the annual King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic 16-team tournament starting next Wednesday. The Bulldogs’ first opponent will be defending Third Region champion Apollo in a 6 p.m. game that day.
“We expect to win all of our games in the tournament,” Caleb Longacre said. “We expect to win it.”
Fairdale hit 29 of 56 shots for 51.7 percent, with Lowrey making 6 of 7 shots and leading the Bulldogs in rebounding with six. Payne connected on 7 of 13 shots, Longacre 5 of 13, Thomas 5 of 10 and Boo Crabtree 3 of 7. Fairdale hit 7 of 17 3-pointers, with Longacre going 2 for 3 and reserve Jordan Clark 2 for 2.
“My role is to control the boards and do what I can down low to help my team,” said the left-handed Lowrey, who also drilled a three.
Seneca (3-4) has four transfers on its team. The Redhawks missed three dunk shots in the first half and later trailed 78-52 before scoring the final seven points against Fairdale’s subs. The Redhawks were led by 6-foot-6 junior Brandon Trotter with 19 points. Antonio Dyson added 12 points and point guard Gerald McCarver tacked on nine.
“We have no experience and when we play an experienced team, that hurts,” Seneca’s first-year coach Brandon Grammer said. “Of the five guys we started, only one played a significant amount of time last season. Trotter played his first great game tonight.”
Seneca (3-4) – McCarver 9, Trotter 19, Samuels 6, Wachira 5, Dyson 12, Coffey 6, Winters 2.
Fairdale (5-1) – Lowrey 16, Payne 16, Thomas 14, Longacre 13, Crabtree 11, Clark 6, Blincoe 2.
3-point goals – Longacre 2, Clark 2, Lowrey, Crabtree, Payne.