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Battle of unbeatens to go toe-to-toe: Fairfield versus NCOE preview

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NORRIS CITY/FAIRFIELD (WSIL) -- There are just a few a handful of boys basketball teams from our southern Illinois coverage area that are unbeaten, and Fairfield and NCOE are two of them.

Wednesday night they square off from Norris City.

"We like to get up and down the court, like to play fast, and we like to let it fly," Fairfield senior Noah McElravy said.
"My mentality is defense wins ball games," NCOE senior Ty Money said. "I use my defense to score."

"One of the best shooting groups I've ever had," Fairfield Boys Basketball Head Coach Scott McElravy said. "We knew it was coming with them and we've got a lot of kids that spend a lot of time in the gym."

"It's just confidence that the shot is going to go in," Fairfield senior Landon Zurliene said. "When someone has the hot hand we know to get them the ball."

Jordan Johnson took over NCOE 8 hours before the first game. Coach Tucker stepped down due to health reasons but remains the schools athletic director. And all all Johnson has done is win."

"I was familiar with the system," Johnson said. "Coach Tucker and I talked about our plans before the season started so as far as the season goes. These senior, they know what they are doing out there and it makes my job a lot easier."

Getting a season in has been special for the McElray's. Noah is a senior, and for coach and player every minute to the final whistle is special.

"It's amazing honestly, I wouldn't want it anyone else to be coaching me," Noah McElravy said. "He's been taking me to the gym ever since I was a little kid. It's just a blessing honestly."

Joe Melton and Landon Zurliene are stars oin their respective teams. Each average 20 points and are teammates in AAU ball. Their matchups will be fun to watch.

"I have a good point guard who is unselfish enough to look for me instead of his own shots most of the time to make me look better and I just try to return the favor to him," Melton said.

"I've known Joe a long time," Zurliene said." We love to play with each other, we love to play against each other but Wednesday night will really be a fun game to play against him and probably be the last time to play against each other so it will be a lot of fun."

Jason Hurst

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