“Shooter,” Fairview coach Derek Cooksey would yell as he pointed to an open Rowan County player camped out at the 3-point line.
And more often than not, the coach’s words were quickly followed by a deep breath and the drop of the head as the player he just pointed to swished an open long ball.
Rowan County connected on half of its 20 3-point attempts to take care of the Eagles 71-52 Wednesday night at Fairview High School.
“It is almost like just pick your poison with Rowan County because they just have so many guys that can shoot the basketball,” Cooksey said. “Hats off to Rowan County, when you zone a team that can shoot the ball well, it is kind of a roll of the dice.”
Five different Vikings made at least one three, led by Ryne Callahan, who was 5-of-9 from behind the arc. Callahan led all scorers with 27 points.
“We were 10-of-20 tonight?” a surprised Viking coach Shawn Thacker asked after hearing his team’s shooting statistics. “That’s pretty good. We have been shooting the ball from behind the arc extremely well.”
While the amount of threes is impressive, the timing of the shots was vastly more important. It seemed as though every time the Eagles made a run at Rowan County, the Vikings would counter with a three ball.
Early in the second half, the Eagles had the Rowan County lead down to six at 38-32 before Larry Whelan connected on his only three of the came to push the Viking lead back to nine.
After Fairview closed the deficit to two at 41-39, Callahan ripped off a pair of triples to once again give Rowan County some breathing room.
“We got it to two and they made a couple threes, but that is what good teams do,” Cooksey said. “They seize the moment.”
Clay Fannin, who was seeing extended minutes due to the fact that Tyler Thacker was limited because of soreness in his knees, helped put the Eagles away early in the final period with a pair of threes.
“We were using Clay to help give Tyler a break,” Thacker said. “He was able to come in and make a couple shots and give us a good cushion.”
Thacker, who missed much of the second half, did contribute 11 points.
Fairview (3-21), losers of 10 straight, was red hot from the field in the first quarter making eight of its first 14 shots, which helped it build a 17-10 advantage.
Rowan County (20-9) held the Eagles to nine points in the second period, however, and closed out the second stanza on a 17-2 run to take the lead at halftime.
Alex Roy and Andrew Carroll did the vast majority of the scoring for Fairview, accounting for 41 of the team’s 52 points.
Roy finished with a double-double, tallying 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
“He has steadily improved throughout the course of the season,” Cooksey said. “We have seen it in practice, and now he is starting to develop into the player we know he can be.”
Carroll narrowly missed a double-double, grabbing nine rebounds to go along with his 20 points.