Fairfield girls lose overtime game to Mt. Pleasant
The Mt. Pleasant girls’ basketball team got off to a strong start against Southeast Conference foe Fairfield, but the Trojans didn’t go away quietly — they made a up a 13-point halftime deficit and forced overtime before falling to the Panthers by a score of 49-46.
“It was nice to get that first conference win,” Mt. Pleasant Coach Joanna Settles said. “None of them are going to come easy.”
Mt. Pleasant (2-2 overall, 1-0 SEC) led Fairfield (3-2 overall, 0-1 SEC) 29-16 at halftime of the Friday-night conference-opening contest in Mt. Pleasant.
They had no trouble breaking the Trojans’ press, passing over the heads of the Fairfield players. When they missed a shot, they got the offensive rebound and put it right back in.
“(Offensive rebounds) were huge — without them, the game could have been totally different,” said Mt. Pleasant’s Kelsi Phipps, who got in the game for the first time this season after dealing with some medical issues.
Phipps led the team with seven offensive boards on the night.
“She’s still not 100 percent, but she came to play — she desperately wanted every rebound,” Settles said.
Phipps and teammate Taryne Shull pulled down 13 boards each and Hannah Becker added 10 as the Panthers outrebounded Fairfield 54-28 on the night, with many of those Mt. Pleasant boards coming in the first half.
“We had a little chat (at halftime) about work ethic — things need to be a little better,” Fairfield Coach Mick Flattery said. “In the first half, it looked like we had no veterans, no post play; I thought I might have put the wrong team on the floor.”
But in the second half, everything changed. Mt. Pleasant got the first point of the third quarter on a free throw by Shull — who finished with a game-high 18 points for the double-double — but then Fairfield went on to score 11 unanswered points and come within three on the scoreboard.
Karley Williams and Mikaela Lunsford each made a tough shot in the lane, and Mackenzie McClure had a steal and layup. Lunsford added another two points and Mackenzie Flattery, who paced the Trojans with 10 points on the night, sank a 3-pointer before Shull made a shot to end the run.
“I’m proud of how the kids battled back, how they played on the road against the preseason favorite (to win the conference title),” Flattery said. “It was great to see the kids respond positively. Mt. Pleasant played a great game against us; we played two quarters, but gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Mt. Pleasant held on to its slight lead for most of the fourth quarter, but Mackenzie Flattery made a long 2-pointer with 2:02 left in the game to put Fairfield up 41-40.
“The first and second halves felt like separate games,” Settles said. “We got around the press, attacked the basket and got easier points in the first half.”
“We got going up to their speed, flying down the court (in the second half),” Phipps said. “We need to remind ourselves to slow down, be in control.”
In the last couple minutes of regulation, the teams traded free throws and then Marisa Repp drove to the basket an made a layup in traffic to give Fairfield a 44-42 edge with 43 seconds left to play.
It was Mt. Pleasant’s Natalie Myers who tied the score, sinking a jumper from the free throw line.
“She had seven points, and every one came at just the right time,” Settles said.
With 28 seconds remaining, Fairfield got another chance but missed its shot. Mt. Pleasant grabbed the rebound but turned the ball over, and then Fairfield was called for a travel, giving the Panthers the ball under the Trojans’ basket. With 2.3 seconds left, the teams remained tied at 44.
Mt. Pleasant played it safe in the last couple seconds and held the ball, sending the game into overtime.
Overtime was a defensive battle — neither team made a field goal in the four-minute period, and they went a combined 7-for-18 from the free throw line.
On the night, both teams made just over half of their free throws — Fairfield was 12-for-22 and Mt. Pleasant was 17-for-30.
“Our free throws weren’t great, but the ones we made sure mattered,” Settles said.
Five of those were in overtime, as the Panthers sank enough of their shots from the stripe to claim the win.
By the end of the game, the Trojans had three players out on fouls — Greiner, who had a team-high six rebounds; Fritz, the team’s point guard; and Mackenzie Flattery.
“It hurt to lose Fritz, who was running things, and Greiner, in the post,” Mick Flattery said.
Mackenzie Flattery went out with just 51 seconds left to play, and the Panthers lost Phipps on fouls with 28 seconds left on the clock.
Mt. Pleasant also played much of the game with point guard Natalie Ita, who got into foul trouble early.
The Panthers play again Friday at Keokuk, while Fairfield gets back on its home court Tuesday against Albia.
JV team beats Panthers
The Fairfield JV team won Friday against Mount Pleasant 35-27. Molly Ryan scored nine points and got seven rebounds.
Fritz scored seven points and stole the ball six times. Kenady Waugh scored six points. Mackenzie McClure and Kaylee Watson each scored four points.