Trojans come up just shy vs. Washington
The Washington girls’ basketball team couldn’t buy a make from the charity stripe in the first half.
They more than made up for it in the second half Friday, knocking down four foul shots in the game’s final minute to stave off upset-hungry Fairfield and claim a 44-39 victory at Fairfield High School gymnasium.
Washington senior Sammy Ellingson, who hit a pair of three throws to put her team up by four points with 28 seconds to go, said the key to her team’s first Southeast Conference victory was in relaxing.
“I was thinking, ‘You shoot these in practice all the time. Just go out there, clear your mind and do what do you. Just focus on winning the game and making the free throws for your team,’” Ellingson said.
Her clutch shots, which made it a two-possession game, were just two of the 16 foul shots hit by Washington in the second half. The visitors were 16 of 22 on free throws in the final two quarters, but in the first half they were just 4 of 13 from the charity stripe.
There were six lead changes by halftime in the battle, and it was rarely more than a one-possession ball game throughout. Washington led 9-6 after the first quarter yet Fairfield kept it close, trailing 15-14 at the midway point. Fairfield stayed within one, 28-27, after three quarters.
With 3:30 to go in the fourth, the Trojans grabbed their largest lead of the night as Sidney Baumann made a layup for a 34-30 lead. Washington’s Johannah Vittetoe cut the deficit to 34-32, and Beth Dillon made a pair of free throws to tie the game back up. Lauren Kimball and Grace Redlinger hit back-to-back 3s to up Washington’s lead to four, and the Demons held on from the free throw line. Dillon hit a free throw attempt, Ellingson made two of hers and Vittetoe sealed the game with one final make in the closing seconds.
“Washington was able to make a shot or two when it was gut-check time,” said Fairfield head coach Mick Flattery. “They made their free throws when they needed to and hit a few big 3s, but we had our chances.”
Dillon paced the Demons with 13 points and 8 of 10 shooting from the charity stripe, Vittetoe had 10 points with six free throws and junior Stephanie Fishback added seven points and four steals. Ellingson contributed five points.
After falling to Washington by a combined 47 points in two games last season, Flattery was pleased with his team’s progress. He said no one in Fairfield’s locker room was satisfied, however.
“It bothered them in the locker room, as it should now. We’re at the stage of this program now where our girls want the next level because they’ve been working so hard,” Flattery said. “It’s not like, ‘Oh boy, we’ve never come this close to Washington before.’ It’s not about moral victories anymore, and that’s what I like about our girls, is their mentality.”
Fairfield also had to weather its foul trouble from the onset of Friday’s game. Both its starting guards, Marisa Repp and Baumann, had to sit for large stretches, and starting forward Hanna Greiner only saw two minutes of court time in the first quarter.
“I thought the key was we had Baumann and Repp in foul trouble most of the evening, and they were our two focus kids because they’re two special little players,” said Washington head coach Phil Long.
Baumann and Repp led the Trojan offense with nine and seven points, respectively. Both also had three steals playing a pivotal role in Fairfield’s full court press. Hanna Greiner scored six points, impressed with 10 blocks and hauled in 12 rebounds. McKenna Ledger scored six, Sydney Burnett had five points with three steals, and Miranda Metcalf was credited with 10 rebounds.
Washington (4-2, 1-0 SEC) is at Durant-Bennett on Tuesday. Fairfield, (2-3, 0-2 SEC) meanwhile, is also on the road Tuesday against Davis County.
JV team falls 52-26
Fairfield’s youth was put to the test in a difficult 52-26 loss to rival Washington Friday at FHS.
Mackenzie Flattery led the Trojan offense with seven points, Delaney Neil scored five points and four rebounds, and Addison Thornton netted five.
Also for Fairfield, Lindsey Repp scored three points, while Taylor Ferrel, Karley Williams and Courtney Gilmore netted two each.
Fairfield will be at Davis County on Tuesday.