LEES CREEK — It was a jubilant Astro locker room Saturday evening after East Clinton staged a dramatic comeback to defeat Fairfield, 53-50, in overtime.
Providing the heroics for the Astros was Landon Runyon, who drained a last-second corner trey for the only points of the extra period, with 2.9 seconds to play.
Fairfield’s desperation three by Titus Cannon caromed off the side of the rim as the horn sounded.
After seven games played, the Astros now show a winning record at 4-3.
“Just listen to those kids in the locker room, I love it, ” said an overjoyed Phil Shori in his post-game remarks. “It’s great to get back-to-back victories and this one is really special.”
“Credit Branson Smith for finding Landon Runyon open in the corner and for Landon stepping up big time down the stretch,” Shori said.
Runyon fueled the Astro comeback in the second half, when the Astros found themselves down at one stage, 48-36, mid-way through the final period.
The Lions could not put the Astros away, and EC staged a furious comeback with Runyon knotting the score at 46-all, then again at 50-50.
Along with his game-winning shot, Runyon topped the Astro attack with 17 points, 14 coming in the second half, and a total of five three-pointers.
Branson Smith followed with 15 points (8 in the second half, and seven in the first half). He has 913 career points.
Shori praised his kids for their tenacity and desire in that second half comeback.
“We know we’re a bunch of scrappers, we have to go at it 24-7, and just keep on fighting,” the first-year coach said. “We want them to never ever give up. Keep up the fight and it has its rewards”
As for Fairfield, Lions coach Josh Howland was very disappointed with his team’s second half effort.
“We just seemed to be in a haze and played very lethargic. Give East Clinton credit. They played harder and wanted it more,” Howland said. “You can’t score just 50 points in a high school basketball game and expect to win.”
Fairfield was led in scoring by sophomore Cannon, with 21 points, including 13 in the first half. He was held scoreless in the third as East Clinton mounted its comeback.
Also in double figures for Fairfield was Conner Priest with 11 points, including nine in the first half.
Dec 19, 2020
@East Clinton High School
East Clinton 53 Fairfield 50
(50) FAIRFIELD (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Zimmerman 2-0-0-4, Zink 3-1-0-7, Cannon 7-4-3-21, Bentley 2-0-0-4, Teeters 0-0-0-0, Watson 1-1-0-3, Priest 3-1-4-11, Taylor 0-0-0-0.
(53) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) B. Smith 5-1-4-15, J. Smith 3-0-0-6, Runyon 6-5-0-17, Tolle 3-0-1-7, Arnold 1-0-0-2, Norman 3-0-0-6.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.