Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 21, 2018

Trojan comeback falls short

By Justin Webster | Jan 03, 2018
Photo by: Justin Webster Junior Tristin Waugh drives to the rack Tuesday night against Iowa City Liberty. Waugh finished the play at the rim with contact, but no call. The Lightning held off a Trojan charge for a 46-44 victory.

After having their winter break extended by a day thanks to the bitter cold temperatures we’re all enjoying, the Fairfield boys’ basketball team hosted newly opened Iowa City Liberty, and falling in heartbreaking fashion, 46-44 to the Lightning.

Head Coach Mick Flattery said about his teams’ 7-0 lead to begin the game.

“Quicker starts are all about the right mindset,” he said. “We turned the ball over way too much early on and had no energy at the start while lacking focus.”

The Trojans trailed 26-16 at halftime and went back to slowly chipping away at the lead, however 24 turnovers isn’t going to help any team trying to make a double-digit comeback.

Junior Collin Breen made contact on his way to the rim and received an and 1 opportunity with 4:13 remaining in the third, but missed the foul shot, leaving Fairfield behind 30-24. By the end of the third period, the Lightning had stretched their lead back to double figures 40-30, and it looked like an uncompetitive loss was on the way for the Trojans.

Two Tristin Waugh free throws started the fourth quarter scoring.

With 5:25 left in the game, two more freebies, this time by Carson Crile, made it 34-40 Liberty.

A three by the quarterback Crile was followed by a pump fake and drive to the rack by fellow junior Waugh and the score was 40-39 Lightning with under four minutes to play.

Liberty finally scored to make it 42-39, but the senior Dante Cingire went all the way to the rim to make it 42-41 with under three minutes to play.

With 2:25 remaining, Dante hit the back end of a two shot foul, tying the ballgame at 42 each.

Six foot plus, sophomore guards Andre Brandon and Sam Funke hit back-to-back shots for Liberty, giving them a 46-42 advantage with just :90 to play, but again Dante Cingire answered with another bucket, cutting the difference in half again and leaving the score 46-44. With 49.3 seconds remaining, Liberty called a full timeout and out of the stop in play was able to elude a foul from Fairfield until their were just 18.1 ticks left on the clock. The Lightnings’ freshman guard Grayson Tyler missed the front end of a one and one opportunity, giving Fairfield life again.

With 6.6 seconds left, the Trojans called a timeout to setup a final attempt to retie the game. Two layups were taken under the Fairfield goal in the final two seconds, but both failed to fall in and send the game to overtime.

After the game Flattery said, “Tonight, we shot too quickly or had bad post entries and we flat out missed a lot of shots. If we are double-teamed we have to find the open man.”

When I asked about the hardships a team goes through when installing new systems, Flattery said, “This is not about just the seniors first of all!! You can’t prevent this from not being about implementing a lot of different things. One, learning how-to win close games; consistently being mentally tough; playing with a sense of urgency and then finishing plays.

Statistical leaders were Breen and Crile with 12 points each while Waugh netted double digits as well with 10 to go with his 12 boards. Crile was also just shy of a double-double with nine rebounds. Austin Simpson added five points, seven boards and three assists while Dante Cingire tallied five points too.

Next for 3-5 Fairfield is 5-3 Fort Madison who comes to town Friday. Flattery added, “Fort Madison is very good. [They have] four scorers that shoot the three and play off ball screens very well.”

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