Fairfax Boys’ Basketball’s Extraordinary Season Ends

Rebels Fall in Region Semifinals Against Westfield


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The Fairfax boys’ basketball team’s magical run through the playoffs ended on March 4 with a 57-54 loss to the Westfield Bulldogs at Robinson High School in the Virginia 6A North Region semifinals.

The Rebels hung with Westfield for the entire game until the Bulldogs, who were ranked number four in the metropolitan area by the Washington Post, hit a late jump shot to pull ahead by one point with less than 90 seconds remaining.

Senior Tyler Barton clinches the Rebels' trip to the region semifinals with a breakaway dunk. (Photo courtesy of Phil Dolinger)

Senior Tyler Barton clinches the Rebels’ trip to the region semifinals with a breakaway dunk. (Photo courtesy of Phil Dolinger)

“It was really fun playing against them,” said senior Nathan Roberts. “It was nice being the underdog because everyone wasn’t expecting us to win and when they saw that we were up, I think that got everyone in the crowd hyped up. All of our guys wanted to play hard for everyone that was there, and we definitely wanted to go to states, but it was tough the way it turned out.”

The loss in the region semifinals caps a playoff run in which Fairfax reached the conference championship game and defeated two worthy opponents in Stonewall Jackson and Chantilly in the regional playoffs.

As the second seed in the conference tournament, Roberts had high expectations for their success. “We did pretty well in the regular season, which made me think that we could do it again in the playoffs,” he said.

Hayfield defeated Fairfax in the conference championship in a heartbreaking 56-54 loss. The Hawks, who finished the regular season with a 10-0 conference record, held a ten point halftime lead. The Rebels opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run and held a two point lead at the end of the period.

“I was proud of how far we got. Of course it was disappointing to lose,” Roberts said.

The fourth quarter was close as each team traded baskets. With 4.6 seconds left, junior Manny Miller was shooting free throws in the bonus for the Rebels. He missed the first shot and the ball went out of bounds off of Hayfield.

Fairfax had one shot to win the game with 2.8 seconds left. On an inbounds play which Hayfield did a good job of shutting down, the Rebels got the ball in on a long pass to senior Tyler Barton. Barton stepped around his defender and missed an off-balance three-pointer, ending the game.

However, the Rebels advanced through the first two regional rounds to qualify for the region “Final Four.”

In the game against Stonewall Jackson, Barton scored 31 points, propelling the Rebels to a 67-62 victory. After leading by as many as 12 points in the first half, Fairfax committed several turnovers, allowing the Raiders to come back and lead 34-28 at halftime.

Barton’s 31 points included four three-pointers. Senior Robert Yates IV added 15 points, including two threes.

In the quarterfinals against the Chantilly Chargers, the Rebels won by a score of 51-47. Fairfax had previously defeated the Chargers in the first game of the regular season. Roberts was a big contributor in this matchup, scoring 17 points in the middle. Yates IV added 16 points.

The game was close from start to finish. After a bad pass led to two Chantilly free throws, which cut the Fairfax lead to two with 11.1 seconds left, Barton clinched the win with a breakaway slam dunk.

Although the Rebels’ season was ended in the region semifinals, the team surpassed expectations and finished with a 20-8 record, only the third time Fairfax has won twenty games in school history.

“We had a lot of talent on this team…we had a lot of drive this year,” said Roberts. “Everyone on the team wanted to win. You could tell everyone on the team wanted to do something big this year.”

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