In keeping with the theme that surrounded Wednesday night's game, Fairfax High's 79-62 Valley League win at home over Cleveland was strictly academic.
Cleveland (13-3, 6-2), whose only losses have been to Fairfax, played the game without Albert Fann and Joey Manliguis, who were ruled ineligible for the rest of the season because they each received an F in one of their classes.
Fairfax, too, was without a starter--guard Dave Henderson, who suffered a similar grade-related fate.
But the Lions (18-0, 9-0), ranked No.2 in the nation by USA Today, are in a class by themselves this season in the City Section. Fairfax's front line of Sean Higgins, Chris Mills and J.D. Greene combined for 71 of their team's points to give the Lions their easiest win over Cleveland this season.
"They're able to control a lot of one-on-one situations and take advantage of them," Cleveland Coach Bob Braswell said. "You play good defense up on top and they're able to throw the ball across the court and get open shots."
Every time the Cavaliers got within striking distance, Higgins, Mills or Greene would end the rally with a breakaway dunk or short inside jumper.
"It was a much easier game than when we played them at their place," said Higgins, who scored a game-high 30 points. "We didn't do anything fancy out there tonight."
Indeed, Higgins' points were accumulated almost effortlessly against the shorter Cavaliers. The spectacular was left to Mills, the Lions' 6-7 junior, who came into the game averaging 25 points a game.
Mills started an 8-0 run by Fairfax in the first quarter with a dunk. He topped that with a reverse slam to put the Lions ahead by 15 with six minutes left in the second quarter.
"To tell you the truth, I thought we'd beat them by more than that (17 points)," said Greene, who scored 13. "Our goal was to hit 100 against them."
Forward Adrian King scored 18 for Cleveland. Michael Gray scored 12 and Damon Greer, playing his first game in 2 1/2 weeks (sprained ankle), scored 10.
"We just ran out of personnel," Braswell said. "Losing three times to the same team is very frustrating. Obviously, we're going to have to try and do something different if we see them in the playoffs."
CLEVELAND--King 18, Branham 9, Gray 12, Greer 10, Bodden 5, Anderson 8.
FAIRFAX--Mills 28, Higgins 30, Greene 13, Levy-Mayer 6, C. Walker 2.