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Driver leads Fitch past Struthers



Published: Sat, January 4, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Brandon Judeh

sports@vindy.com

Austintown

Though the temperatures outside of the Fitch gymnasium were in the single digits, Jessie Driver’s stat line was in the double digits.

The senior finished the night with a triple-double — 16 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists — as he helped lead the Falcons to a 59–55 victory over Struthers on Friday night.

It was the point guard’s first career triple-double.

“It’s definitely exciting, but the most important thing was coming out here and getting the win,” Driver said. “Plus I couldn’t have done this without my teammates, they were knocking down shots and boxing out people all night, they did a great job.”

Falcons head coach Brian Beany says he has come to expect performances like this from Driver as he continues to improve with each passing game for Fitch (5-1, 5-1 All-American Conference).

“In high school basketball, it’s very hard to record a triple-double, but nothing he does comes as a surprise,” Beany said. “Last year as a junior he led the team in points, rebounds and assists.

“He’s such an unselfish player too. He’s always looking to make an extra pass and find an open teammate.”

Though Driver dominated the night, the Wildcats (2-5, 1-3 All-American Conference) hung around and kept the game tight throughout.

But the turning point came early in the fourth quarter. With Fitch clinging to a four-point lead the Falcons and went on a 7-0 run to take an 11-point lead.

Struthers kept it close with some clutch 3-pointers down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough.

“We executed on the offensive end in the second half and made some defensive stops,” Beany said. “But the thing that worries me a little bit is that we aren’t a complete 32-minute team yet, we have the experience with seven seniors, but we need to start putting complete games together.”

Driver agrees.

“This team goes through a lot of spurts through a game,” he said. “We may get a 15-point spurt, but then the other team will make a nice run as well, so we just need to clamp down and limit those type things.”

Struthers continues to slump as the Wildcats are now three games below .500. Head coach Joe Savko said this game was lost late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.

“It was a back-and-forth battle for most of the game, but late in the third and into the fourth quarter we went on a little spell where we couldn’t put one in the hoop and Fitch capitalized on that,” Savko said.

Struthers’ Rayquan Phifer led all scorers with 27 points while Austin Yemma hit three 3-pointers on his way to 12 points and eight boards.

For the Falcons, Quincy Higgins scored 14 points, Jake Bullen chipped in with 11 and Driver recorded four steals.


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