Trojans’ offensive woes continue vs. Keokuk
The shots simply weren’t falling Monday for the Fairfield boys’ basketball team, which went 5-for-35 from the field in a 53-24 loss to Keokuk at FHS Gymnasium.
“We just couldn’t score. That’s the bottom line,” said Tyler Miklo, Fairfield’s head coach. “We attacked, we got good looks, and we just couldn’t score.”
The Trojans (3-13, 1-5 Southeast Conference) fell behind by double-digits early, and a goose egg in the third quarter put the game out of reach. The 24-point total was the lowest for Fairfield since a Nov. 30 loss at Mount Pleasant.
The visiting Chiefs started the game hot and caromed out to a 6-2 advantage. An old-fashioned three-point play by senior Spencer Peterman cut the deficit to one, but Keokuk reeled off eight straight points to close the quarter.
Keokuk added onto its lead at the beginning of the second and went up 18-5 with seven minutes to go. Peterman hit four straight foul shots to bring Fairfield within 20-9, yet the away team held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Besides turnovers, the most glaring error for Fairfield in the first half was missed free throws. The Trojans missed seven of them in the first half, and they fell behind 27-16 by halftime.
“We missed too many free throws in the first half,” Miklo said. “Three of those were the front ends of 1-and-1s, which really is two.”
The Trojans went 14 of 26 from the line in the game, but they also came up empty from beyond the 3-point arc, where they shot an uncharacteristically poor 0-for-12.
The Trojans continued to ramp up the aggression in the third quarter, but they found little success on the offensive end as they were shut out for the entire eight-minute stretch.
“We were trying to attack the inside, and that’s where our strength is, to get the ball inside. We’re not finishing, and that makes it hard for us and it makes it hard for our shooters on the outside to get good looks,” Miklo said.
Keokuk led 40-16 at the end of the third, and turnovers prevented Fairfield from scoring until Joe Hietpas made a basket with 6:00 remaining in the game. Jacob Greiner hit a free throw and layup, with two free throws by Jordan Reid sandwiched in between, as the Trojans cut the deficit to 47-23 with two minutes remaining.
Despite the sub-par offensive performance, Miklo liked what he saw from his players on the defensive side of the ball.
“That’s a game we know we have to keep them in the 40s or 50s because they’re a team that is capable of putting up big numbers. I thought we did a great job on Jonny Dahl and just made everything he had to do tough,” he said.
Peterman led the Trojans with seven points on 5-for-5 shooting from the foul line, and junior Vince Horras scored six points with eight rebounds. Greiner, who stepped in Monday for the injured Landon Gamrath, finished with three points and six boards off the bench.
Matt Carr, Kyle Weirup, Hietpas and Reid scored two points apiece to round out the team score.
With the Trojans’ next matchup another game vs. Keokuk (12-5, 3-3 SEC), Miklo looks for his players to execute better.
“We tried to do things the right way and tried to do what we wanted to do. We need to try to clean up and be able to throw some better passes, finish at the line and finish at the rim,” said Miklo. “With the opportunities we had, we could’ve easily been in the low 50s tonight. We just didn’t get the job done.”
The rematch will be in Keokuk Friday with a scheduled start time of 7:30 p.m.
Fairfield vs. Keokuk
KEOKUK — 14 13 13 13 — 53
FAIRFIELD — 5 11 0 8 — 24
FAIRFIELD — Peterman 1 5-5 7, Horras 2 2-5 6, Greiner 1 1-3 3, Carr 0 2-2 2, Weirup 0 2-4 2, Hietpas 1 0-0 2, Reid 0 2-2 2, Totals 5 14-26 24
3-point goals — none. Rebounds — Horras 8, Greiner 6, Whitney 3. Assists — Whitney, Dimmitt, Hietpas. Steals — Reid, Horras, Hietpas, Dimmitt, Whitney. Blocks — Horras