Defense costs Trojans vs. Iowa City Regina
Defensive intensity was lacking in the Fairfield girls’ 71-50 loss to Iowa City Regina Thursday, and head coach Mick Flattery put the blame squarely on his own shoulders.
“I’d fire the defensive coordinator if I was a football coach, and the defensive coordinator here is me,” said Flattery. “We gave up 71 and 66 points this week. We’re just not guarding anybody right now with any intensity or any strategy in mind, and that’s what I’ve got to get them focused back in on again.”
Regina’s 71-point game was the highest total put up against the Trojans all season. The normally sturdy defense has allowed 49.6 points per game this winter, but the past two opponents have averaged 68.5 vs. the Trojans.
“I know we’ve been playing ranked teams, but I don’t like the process we’re allowing them to score with,” Flattery added. “We can’t allow them to go to their strengths, and that’s my job to get that taught to them. I know it, but I need them to know it, and that’s the key in any coaching.”
The previously ranked Regina girls (14-4) opened up the game holding a 17-11 lead after the first quarter, but the Trojans stayed close for most of the period. Junior Hanna Greiner scored two straight baskets for Fairfield to open to a 4-all tie, and junior Marisa Repp handed Fairfield a 6-4 lead off of a steal. Regina tied the game back up, but a basket by senior Brittany Kurtz and three free throws from senior Sidney Baumann kept Fairfield on top 11-8.
But a 12-0 run by Regina spanning the first and second quarters knocked Fairfield into a 20-11 hole, and the visitors held on to a 36-22 lead by halftime.
Regina would lead by double digits the rest of the game, but the Trojans scored the first four points in the third quarter and held Regina to a game-low 14 points out of the break.
“I thought our energy was much better in the third quarter, but once again when you have to play as chaotic as we had to get back into it, then you’re spent,” Flattery said. “We have to play with more intensity, and that energy has just got to be sustained for a longer period of time.”
Greiner had an outstanding night from the field, scoring a team-high 16 points, and she also pulled down 11 rebounds to go with three steals. She accounted for more than half of her team’s field goals (8).
“There were some good individual performances. It used to be Baumann was the only one we could get in double digits, but Hanna Greiner had another double-double again,” said Flattery. “Now we’ve got an inside-outside that you can really bang again with.”
Baumann, who had an off-night from the field by her standards, found other ways to get involved. The senior hit one field goal attempt but ended up going 11 of 12 from the free throw line and dishing out four assists.
“Sid has kind of hit a little wall on her perimeter shooting right now, but you go through that. Thank goodness she’s getting to the free throw line, and that’s what good guards do,” Flattery said.
Also for Fairfield, Repp had seven points along with three steals prior to suffering an injury, and Kurtz chipped in four points. Karley Williams finished with three boards off the bench.
The Trojans shot a season-best 18-for-20 from the foul line, though Regina kept pace with a 26-for-31 day.
Fairfield (6-10, 2-4 SEC) continues its final stretch of the regular season Tuesday at home vs. Centerville.
“[Centerville] has four girls who have attempted 64 or more 3-pointers, so we better be ready to defend,” Flattery said. “Right now it seems like people are kind of licking their chops when they see our defense. We’ve got to lock down and get after it again on Tuesday.”
Fairfield vs. Iowa City Regina
REGINA — 17 19 14 21 — 71
FAIRFIELD — 11 11 13 15 — 50
FAIRFIELD — Greiner 8 0-0 16, Baumann 1 11-12 14, Repp 2 2-2 7, Kurtz 2 0-0 4, Metcalf 1 0-0 2, Flattery 1 0-0 2, Williams 0 2-2 2, Ryan 0 2-2 2, Winslow 0 1-2 1, Totals 15 18-20 50
3-point goals — Repp, Baumann. Rebounds — Greiner 11, Repp 5, Kurtz 4, Williams 3. Assists — Baumann 4, Greiner 2, Kurtz 2. Steals — Repp 3, Greiner 3.