By Ty Bartell
AUSTINTOWN, Ohio — The Austintown-Fitch Falcons soared to their 11th win of the season Saturday night, edging out The Smithville Smithies of the Wayne County Conference with a hard-fought 48-42 victory.
The game began with Ethan Piatt of Smithville showcasing his sharpshooting skills, sinking shots from various distances in the first half. Despite Piatt’s efforts, Austintown-Fitch managed to hold a narrow 11-8 lead after the opening quarter. Piatt continued his scoring barrage in the second quarter, knocking down two threes and tallying four total in the half, helping Smithville to a slim 21-20 halftime advantage.
However, the Falcons found their rhythm in the second half, led by the passing prowess of senior Deshawn Vaughn. Vaughn orchestrated the offense expertly, setting up his teammates for scoring opportunities. Behind a 13-8 third-quarter surge, Austintown-Fitch took control of the game, entering the final quarter with a 35-29 lead.
Despite Smithville’s efforts to mount a comeback, Austintown-Fitch responded to every challenge, matching Smithville’s scoring output in the fourth quarter with both teams putting up 13 points, securing the 48-42 victory for the Falcons.
Deshawn Vaughn’s stellar performance earned him Player of the Game honors, as his passing abilities proved crucial in guiding Austintown-Fitch to victory. Vaughn also contributed 7 points to the scoreboard. Leading the Falcons in scoring were junior duo Carter Owens and Marcel Finkley, each finishing with 11 points.
On the opposing side, Ethan Piatt led the charge for Smithville with an impressive 19-point performance, including six three-pointers. Dawson Young provided additional scoring support for the Smithies with 10 points of his own.
With the win, Austintown-Fitch (11-8, 4-3) guarantees a .500 regular season.The Falcons will now turn their attention to a showdown with Warren G. Harding (10-9, 5-2) when they host the Raiders on Friday, February 16th, in an All-American Conference (AAC) matchup.
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