MOORE — Fairview senior Payton Van Meter knew she had to correct her mistake. Her answer came in the biggest basket of her career.
Fairview defeated Thomas 44-43 in the opening round of the Class 2A girls basketball state tournament at Westmoore on Thursday. With 44 seconds left in the game, Van Meter backed off Thomas senior Savana Marsh, who drained a 3-pointer to give Thomas the lead, 43-42.
“It was all on me,” Van Meter said. “I knew I had to do something.”
It was either make a play and move on or play her final high school basketball game.
So she took the ball coast-to-coast, fearlessly, and scored a layup to give Fairview the lead. Her teammates answered with a defensive stop that led them to the victory and a second-round meeting with either Northeast or Preston at noon Friday at State Fair Arena.
Although the final stop sealed the win, Fairview's defense in the third and fourth quarter helped slow down Thomas’ Keelah Hamar. The Yellowjackets trailed a majority of the game thanks to Hamar. Fairview knew about Hamar’s ability beyond the arc but had a hard time containing her in the first half, and the 75-percent free throw team struggled at the line, missing 7 of 19.
Hamar jacked up six 3-pointers and lead all scorers with 20 points.
In the third and fourth quarter, though, Hamar was held to a layup from the right of the basket and one 3-pointer from the left side of the arc, respectively.
“We knew she was a shooter,” Fairview coach Mike Barton said. “We changed our game plan to stay close. We went straight man.”