Ross Fauquier came into the game with a 102 degree fever.
His hot hand down the stretch led Lackawanna Trail to a 54-49 win over Blue Ridge in a Lackawanna League Division 4 contest in Factoryville Tuesday night.
Fauquier scored 10 of his 18 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 20-6 run in the fourth.
“He wasn’t even supposed to be able to walk tonight,” Lackawanna Trail head coach Jason Nese said. “I love the effort I get from these guys.”
Tyler Rzucidlo, who led all scorers with 20 points, also nailed a pair of 3-pointers to help seal the win late in the fourth quarter. Rzucidlo also grabbed seven rebounds in the victory.
“We came together as a team and settled things down,” Rzucidlo said. “We ran through the plays all the way, my teammates did a good job getting me the ball and I hit some shots.”
After the teams played to a 20-20 tie in the first half, Blue Ridge’s Brad Palmatier scored the first five points of the third quarter and the Red Raiders began the second half on a 9-2 run and led 39-33 entering the fourth quarter. Palmatier scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
“The first three quarters didn’t go the way we wanted them to,” Nese said, “but we never let things get out of hand. We played tough defense throughout, the shots just didn’t fall. Late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter, we started playing Lackawanna Trail basketball.
“Tyler Rzucidlo hit some big shots down the stretch and the guys really pulled together tonight. I ask the guys to give me everything they had, and they did, and we got a hard-fought win.”
Fauquier started the scoring off for the Lions in the fourth quarter with a bucket and converted two 3-pointers in a span of just over two minutes in the fourth to give Lackawanna Trail a 50-45 lead with 1:25 left in the game. Fauquier also added five rebounds and two steals in the win.
“My team was encouraging me to keep pushing,” Fauquier said, “and the students and all the fans kept me going.”
Blue Ridge’s Austin White scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and led the Red Raiders with 12 rebounds.
Nese hopes Lackawanna Trail (11-10, 4-1 Lackawanna League Div. 4) can build off the win going forward into the postseason next week.
“Blue Ridge played fantastic,” Nese said, “they didn’t make anything easy for us. Especially after the Elk Lake loss, I was happy to get a win on our home court. We want to win out in the second half and let the chips fall where they may.”