Ronnie Rowley
John Bruce

John Bruce

Fairfield Union falls to Bishop Ready, reaches end of program’s longest tourney run

Fairfield Union ends its season at 24-4 overall.

John Bruce, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

ATHENS — The longest run in Fairfield Union history reached its bitter end on Saturday. 

Fairfield Union’s Ted Harrah drives to the basket during the Falcons’ district semifinal win earlier this season.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

The Falcons (24-4) battled tough and gave Bishop Ready a run for its money. However, their offense sputtered down the stretch as the Sliver Knights earned a 48-33 victory in a Division II regional final. 

“Anytime you have a regional final, it’s going to be a game of who executes better,” Fairfield Union coach Travis Schaeffer said. “I thought in the first half, we did. We ran our sets well, we ou-rebounded them in the first half and that’s how you win a regional final game. In the second half, we had some mental mistakes and small errors. Those just start stacking up.”

Fairfield Union’s Ted Harrah bullied his way into the post for an opening bucket, but the Knights grabbed the lead on a deep triple from Kaleb Schaffer. Harrah grabbed the lead back for the Falcons with a pair of free throws before Charlie Russell began to take over.

The Knights’ senior guard put together a 7-0 run from all three levels: a turnaround jumper, a catch-and-shoot transition 3 and a coast-to-coast driving layup to give the Knights a 10-4 lead. A driving layup from Brennan Rowles closed the quarter’s scoring and kept the Falcons within 10-6 after one. 

Following a free throw from Uthman Sherif, Rowles splashed a triple from the wing before connecting with a Harrah on a nifty pick-and-roll to tie the game 11-11. 

Russell responded in a big way with his second trey of the half, before Ronnie Rowley tied the game again with a 3 of his own. Caleb Redding got going for the Falcons with a triple from the top of the key to give FU its first lead since the opening minutes. However, Russell immediately answered with his third trey of the night to bring things even again at 15-15. 

The Knights regained the lead when Russell scored again before Josh Paul netted his first points of the game from downtown to seemingly regain all momentum right before halftime.

The problem was that nobody informed the Falcons of that. 

A pair of deep 3s from Rowley, followed by another from Isaac Schmelzer shot the Falcons into the lead at the break, 24-22. 

Back-to-back post scores from Schaffer and Russell brought about the seventh lead change of the game in the third. Russell converted a pair from the line to extend the lead to 28-24, capping a 6-0 run to open the quarter for the Knights. 

“[Bishop Ready’s] guards picked up the pressure a little bit and kind of disrupted our ability to get a post touch. In the first half, they played back and we were able to get a touch each time down the floor. That opened up our ability to kick it out and shoot the 3,” Shaeffer said. “In the second half, though, they just picked us up more on the perimeter.”

Rowles connected on his second 3 before a nice post move from Harrah resulted in the Falcons grabbing the lead again. However, Ready’s Luke Ruth answered by dialing up from deep for a corner 3 before hitting a jumper for a 33-29 lead for the Silver Knights.

Caleb Schmelzer scored in the post and Ruth finished the third’s scoring by splitting a pair at the line for a 34-31 lead. 

Ready continued its run with a bucket from Kaleb Schaffer, before his brother Kayden made a pair of free throws for its biggest lead of the night at 40-31.

The Knights turned up the defensive pressure from that point on, holding the Falcons to just two points in the frame to close their season.

“We did a great job of taking care of the ball and making good decisions in the first half, but it becomes difficult when you know how close the game is,” Schaeffer said. “Then you see the other team start hitting shots, and then you start pressing a little bit. But it came down to Ready is just that good.”


Share this post