Wrapping Up and Winding Down

March 9, 2023


Blake Winterberg (11), shooting a two pointer in the February 22nd district game against Strafford. Brody McNew (12) (left) and Jaxon Rowden (12) (center). (photo taken by Charlie Harp)

The Fair Grove boys basketball team closed out the season when they played in the class three district tournament on Monday, Feb 20th and Wednesday, Feb 22nd.

Their first game was a blow-out victory against Pleasant Hope, winning 64-29, but the second game did not go in favor of the Eagles. The team never led by more than one point against Strafford and trailed for most of the game, however they erased a 13 point deficit in the fourth quarter, with star senior Jaxon Rowden hitting the game tying three with under a second to go in regulation, forcing overtime. The team would then go on to fall to the Indians 62-68 in overtime.

“I had to make sure I made the shot and then get back on defense,” said Jaxon Rowden (12), when asked about what went through his head as he pulled up for that last shot. “I couldn’t let my last shot in high school be a miss to send the game to overtime,” he added.

Despite the loss, Head Coach Bryan Tucker was happy with the team’s performance, “We competed until the game was over, no matter the score or situation, we just fought, which is something I am so pleased with overall.” He elaborated, “Hindsight is always 20/20 but at the end of the day we had the guy we wanted shooting for the other team and we were shooting open shots that didn’t go down. That is sports.” 

Going into the competition the players were confident in their ability to play. Rowden stated, “I wasn’t concerned with anything except I hoped my shoulder and the team stayed healthy.” Bryden Baxter (10) added, “I wasn’t concerned, we just knew we had a really tough district and anyone could win it.”

According to Tucker, the team showed a competitive drive throughout the year, even pulling off some underdog victories, “I was most pleased with the way we competed in every game. We won a few games this year where we were down double figures in the second half of games and just kept fighting and competing.” 

The team will lose two seniors this year, “I am very sad to lose our seniors, Jaxon Rowden and Tim Butler. They were very fun to coach and I am really going to miss them.” Tucker added, “I am also very excited about the future of our program with so many players returning that have varsity experience.”

Overall, Tucker was proud of the team’s production over the past season, “I was very pleased with our overall success. It is always difficult at the end of every season, but when you look back at some of the things we accomplished it’s very difficult to not be happy.”

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