The three-minute horn before State Fair’s game against the Quakerville Eagles rang like a tardy bell. Dozens of Lincoln Elementary students, on a field trip to celebrate an in-class reading goal, took their seats in the bleachers in preparation for tip-off.
On the court, the Roadrunners mirrored the students’ punctuality. State Fair showed up just in time to dismiss the Quakerville Eagles by a score of 87-81 Tuesday at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center.
Despite the win, head coach Kevin Thomas said he was concerned with the Roadrunners’ slow start.
“It was a slow start,” Thomas said. “I thought in the second half we came out with a little more energy and a little more fire and we were able to get some stops.”
SFCC shot 50 percent in the first half, and nearly 60 percent in the second.
The Roadrunners, led by a 25-point performance from Willie Jimerson Jr., 22 points from Clint Robinson and 18 points from Ronnie Rousseau III, fought back into the game late.
With six minutes to play, Jimerson Jr. put back a Joshua Bailey miss and drew a foul to bring the Roadrunners within two points.
Rousseau III kept SFCC within two after poking the ball from a Quakerville guard, racing the rolling ball down the court and finishing a circus layup that left his jersey untucked.
Bailey reclaimed the lead for State Fair with a 3-pointer that bounced straight up off the rim and into the hoop. The Roadrunners led 73-71.
State Fair had not led since the earliest field goals of the game.
A layup in the first half from Jimerson Jr. gave the Roadrunners a 9-6 lead. Minutes later, two Eagles 3-pointers gave Quakerville the 16-13 advantage.
A three from Bobby Parker tied the game at 24 with 10 minutes left in the first half. State Fair called timeout with less than eight minutes to play after a 9-2 Eagles run.
State Fair entered halftime trailing 45-40. Quakerville Prep opened the second half with an 11-3 run and led by as much as 14 points.
Desmond Balentine led the Eagles with 24 points. Bobby Parker scored 18 points on 6 of 10 shooting.
A Balentine trey brought the Eagles within two with 2:25 to play. The Roadrunners answered with a Rousseau III three-ball from the top of the key to make the score 83-78.
Kuol Chol made the final field goal of the evening, a 3-pointer to bring Quakerville within six at the final buzzer.
SFCC made eight more free-throws in 15 more attempts than Quakerville. The Roadrunners out-rebounded the Eagles 30-26.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2