WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW: Trojans feature mix of underclassmen, veteransPlayoff victories a goal for Fairfield
Head Coach: Mick Flattery, 3rd year
Key Returnees: Hanna Greiner (Sr.), Marisa Repp (Sr.), McKenna Ledger (Sr.), Samantha Fritz (Fr.)
Outlook: The Trojans have a mix of senior leadership and youthful exuberance that could very well produce a successful team. Fritz will need to distrbute the ball with success for the Trojans to be successful offensively.
Head coach Mick Flattery isn’t afraid to shake up his lineups.
Each player’s grade doesn’t matter. The deserving players are the ones who will get playing time. Never was that more apparent than when Flattery unveiled his first starting lineup for the 2013-14 season, which had freshman Samantha Fritz running the offense at point guard. Fritz has the hard luck task of following Sidney Baumann at the position. Baumann led the Trojans in two playoff victories last season.
“During my coaching career I’ve started freshmen and I’ve started all seniors too,” Flattery said. “It’s a journey, and I’m sure the lineup will fluctuate during the season.”
Fairfield won a postseason game for the first time in eight years when it took down Mount Pleasant 52-47 in the first round of districts. The Panthers had already beaten Fairfield twice during the regular season. Baumann, an All-State selection who has since graduated, put in 24 points to lead the Trojans to victory.
“She had an unbelievable year,” Flattery said. “She got on a roll late in the year where the net was as big as a hula hoop. One of those kind of runs.”
Fairfield followed up the victory with another one at Oskaloosa. A loss to Benton ended the season, but not before the Trojans had left their mark on the postseason field. One victory stood between them and a trip to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines for the state playoffs.
The new team is full of youth, yet also full of experience. This juxtaposition suits Flattery just fine.
“Like any good team does, the older people have to teach the younger people how to do things,” Flattery said. “The seniors haven’t forgotten that they were freshmen at one time. What’s neat about this team is no one is jealous of anyone else. These girls seem to really get along well.”
A trio of starting seniors will be the core of the new starting crew. Hanna Greiner, who averaged 8.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season, will be posting up near the basket. Greiner was named to the All-Southeast Conference team.
“No question she was one of the best shot blockers and rebounders in the conference last season,” Flattery said.
Forward McKenna Ledger and scoring threat Marisa Repp will join Greiner. All three of these seniors are stellar defensively. Repp, for instance, averaged three steals a game last season.
Sophomore Mackenzie Flattery could likely be the fifth starter. This of course is likely to change, as the lineup undoubtedly will be shifted around to find the best fit.
“I remember when I played, and the only thing I ever asked for was for the coach to be fair,” Flattery said. “Just be fair. The lineup is never set in stone, so each girl knows that they need to continue to get better.”
Size will certainly not be an issue for the Trojans. Freshman Mikaela Lunsford and sophomore Molly Ryan will both get time in the post because of their height. Mackenzie McClure, Erica Winslow, Karley Williams and Taylor Ferrel will all see significant minutes as well. Nine or 10 players could see action every game. It will take time for the four grades to mesh together.
Mount Pleasant is the preseason favorite to win the Southeast Conference on paper, and Washington’s athletic lineup will be tough to compete with as well. Fairfield will travel to the Waterloo West Tournament on Nov. 29 to compete against stiffer competition than its used to seeing. Waterloo East and the other teams at the tournament are squads that the Trojans will likely have to defeat come playoff time. Flattery knows playing that level of competition early on can only help his team improve.
“A lot of these big schools play in big, physical conferences,” Flattery said. “If we never see that, then once we play those teams we would be like ‘woah, how can we handle that?’ I would just rather play a tough schedule and maybe lose a few games down the road. If that’s what gets us to Wells Fargo, so be it.”
Southeast Conference: 2012-13 Standings
Team, Conference Record, Overall Record
Washington 6-2 14-8
Mount Pleasant 5-3 13-9
Keokuk 5-3 12-11
Fairfield 3-5 11-13
Ft. Madison 1-7 4-18
Fairfield 2013-14 Schedule
11/26 vs. Ottumwa
11/29 @ Waterloo West
11/30 @ Waterloo West Tournament
12/2 vs. Oskaloosa
12/6 @ Mount Pleasant
12/10 vs. Albia
12/13 @ Washington
12/14 vs. Pella
12/17 vs. Davis County
1/3 @ Keokuk
1/10 vs. Fort Madison
1/11 vs. Danville
1/14 @ Eddyville-Blakesburg
1/17 vs. Mount Pleasant
1/24 vs. Washington
1/28 vs. Burlington Notre Dame
2/1 @ Cedar Rapids Kennedy
2/4 @ Centerville
2/7 vs. Keokuk
2/11 @ Chariton
2/14 @ Fort Madison
2/19 Regional First Round