By: Nate Calvin
LIBERTY CENTER – Trailing 41-39 with 1:32 remaining in the game, Fayette scored the final five points of the night to pull out a 44-41 win over Montpelier in a Division IV sectional semifinal at Liberty Center High School.
The final stanza, which featured four ties and seven lead changes, started with a 5-2 spurt by the Eagles ending with a three-point play from Wyatt Mitchell for a 34-29 Fayette lead.
Montpelier senior Garrett Walz would put the Locos on his back with a bucket and a corner triple to tie the game at 34-34.
A Kaden Frenn hoop gave the Eagles a brief 36-34 lead before Walz buried another trey to put the Locos on top at 37-36 with 3:40 to go.
The back-and-forth final frame continued as Xander Dunnett hit his third triple of the night for a 39-37 Fayette advantage, but Grant Girrell’s rebound bucket and another field goal by Walz gave the Locos a 41-39 lead at the 1:32 mark.
A three-point play by Frenn gave Fayette the lead back at 42-41 with 1:21 left before Mitchell and Frenn would each go 1/2 at the charity stripe to push the lead to 44-41 with 4.6 remaining.
Following a timeout, Montpelier was faced with going the length of the floor on their final possession and Walz’s desperation three-pointer from just across half court came up short.
After not shooting a free throw in the first half, Fayette was 11/17 at the line in the second half, including 6/9 in the fourth quarter.
Frenn netted 13 points to lead the Eagles and Mitchell added 11 as the duo combined to score 10 of Fayette’s 17 points in the fourth.
Walz ended the night with 18 points, 12 of those in the final quarter for Montpelier (8-15) and Girrell had 11.
Montpelier started the night shooting a high percentage with a 5/7 first quarter leading to a 9/14 effort from the floor in the opening half.
A 6-0 run in the opening fame gave the Locos an 11-6 lead after one quarter and after Fayette closed to within 11-10 in the second stanza, another 6-0 surge by the Locos gave them a 17-10 lead.
Fayette would engineer an 8-0 run though, aided by two triples from Dunnett, to take their first lead of the night at 18-17.
Walz would end the half with a three ball for the Locos to give Montpelier the lead 21-18 at halftime.
Jamison Grime started the second half with field goal for the Locos before Fayette answered with a 6-0 run as they went to work at the foul line to grab a 24-23 lead at the 3:36 mark of the third.
The nip-and-tuck quarter ended with a bucket from Frenn to tie things up 27-27 heading to the final quarter.
MONTPELIER (41) – Walz 18; Thorp 0; Sommer 0; Camper 1; Girrell 11; Martin 0; Brunk 3; Grime 8; Totals: 13-3-6 -41
FAYETTE (44) – Frenn 13; Leininger 0; Moats 2; Mitchell 11; Lester 9; Whiteside 0; Jacob 0; Dunnett 9; Totals: 12-3-11 – 44
GAME STATISTICS – MONTPELIER: FG – (16/30 (53%); FT – 6/12 (50%); Rebounds – 19 (4 offensive); Turnovers – 16; FAYETTE: FG – 15/35 (42%); FT – 11/17 (64%); Rebounds – 14 (4 offensive); Turnovers – 6
MONTPELIER 11 10 6 14 – 41
FAYETTE 6 12 9 17 – 44
Nate can be reached at email@example.com
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