Corey Stearns had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Peyton Woods and Trey Blevins added 23 points apiece to account for nearly all of Wayne County’s scoring in a 73-62 win over host Fairdale on Friday in the first round of the Forcht Bank King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic.
Wayne County (3-2) — the defending 12th Region champion — played its starters all but the last 18 seconds of the game and pulled away from the Bulldogs (4-2) by hitting four of their seven 3-pointers in the third quarter.
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Woods, Blevins and Stearns combined to shoot 24 of 30 from the free-throw line. Fairdale was 9 of 13.
“We’re pretty tough to beat by anybody in the state when we shoot it like we can,” Woods said. “We didn’t shoot very well in the first half. We got a little hot in the second half. We’ve got three guys out on the perimeter who can stick it in at any point.”
Woods, one of the top seniors in the state, battled flu-like symptoms and got a shot earlier in the day, but he and the Cardinals’ starters needed no help off the bench.
“We do that every night whether we’re sick or not,” he said. “We go play the whole game. … That’s what we practice, and that’s what we condition for.”
Wayne County will face Taylor County at 6 p.m. Sunday. Fairdale will play Waggener at the same time in the consolation bracket.
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Tre Richardson played only 16 minutes because of foul trouble but led Fairdale with 19 points and eight rebounds. Glenn Quenn scored 13 points, and Ethan Longacre added 12 on 4-of-4 3-point shooting.
Fairdale coach David Hicks said Richardson’s production in limited minutes was evidence that the Bulldogs are good when they get the ball inside. His basket with 3:18 to play got Fairdale within 59-54, but Wayne County answered with a 10-2 run.
“When we executed and did get the ball on the block, we were successful and that’s when we closed the gap,” he said. “A few times we got out of what we do best, didn’t execute, took some poor shots, and that’s when they opened the margin back up. … They’re a good team.”
Wayne County (3-2) – Stearns 25, Woods 23, Blevins 23, Baker 2.
Fairdale (4-2) – Richardson 19, Quenn 13, Longacre 12, Johnson 7, Sanford 4, Moore 2, Votaw 2, Dewboys 2, Tipton 1.
3-point goals – not available.