Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

Trojans holding heads high after loss

By Justin Webster | Feb 23, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo Fairfield’s starting five Thursday night at Solon consisted of juniors, left to right, Austin Simpson, Tristin Waugh, Collin Breen and Carson Crile and senior Dante Cingire, far right.

The Fairfield boys’ basketball programs’ “future looks bright,” said Trojan head coach Mick Flattery following his teams 57-48 loss at Solon Thursday night in the Class 3A substate 5 regional semifinal.

Earlier in the season, around the time they had a 4-8 record, Fairfield would struggle to get started offensively, but Thursday it only took one offensive set for junior Carson Crile to find senior Dante Cingire out by his lonesome, who then found the bottom of the net for a 3-0 Trojan lead.

Solon responded immediately with a successful two-point conversion of their own, but the Trojans pushed the pace early and 1:05 into the contest junior Austin Simpson attacked the rim and drew a foul before hitting both free throws for a 5-2 advantage for the visitors.

Both teams settled in and the flow slowed for a few minutes until Simpson was called for an offensive charge with 4:58 remaining in the opening period, followed by Spartans sophomore AJ Coons three that gave Solon a 9-5 lead and let their crowd roar.

Luckily for Fairfield, they have plenty of play-makers of their own, including junior Tristin Waugh who hit the bonus ball on his and 1 with 4:12 in the first to bring it back to 9-8 Sparty.

Solon then ran off a 10-0 run over the next 2:30 of game clock to creat an 18-8 cushion before Collin Breen stopped the bleeding with one of his trademark floating jumpers with 1:42 left. Cingire attacked the rack inside the final minute following another Solon score to make it 20-12, but then senior swingman Stahle Jack was found wide-open for three off an inbounds pass with :10 left in the opening quarter to give the home team a 23-12 advantage. Cingire tried to heave a three-quarters court shot in vain as he was blocked at the buzzer to end the first eight minutes with Solon feeling confident.

Trojan senior Cingire didn’t waste any time in the second period as he drew a foul :13 into the action and hit 1-2 foul shots to bring it to 23-13. Although Simpson added an and 1, the Trojans couldn’t get within single digits until Cingire appeared to be shooting a three-pointer, but as he left his feet and the defense collapsed, the seniors’ point guard-vision kicked in and he snapped a slick pass inside to Crile for an easy lay in that sent the student section into a frenzy as Fairfield pulled the score to 29-20. That’s as close as it would get in the first half as Solon kept getting shooters’-bounces on contested long balls that helped them stretch their lead back to the mid-teen’s range.

The second half was much better for the Trojans who spent the entire 16 minutes playing from behind, but only by four to eight points for most of it. After six minutes of clawing, Crile layed in a basket to reduce the deficit to 45-39 which revitolized Trojan nation who had cautiously watched the comeback. After Simpson followed that with a lay in of his own with :51 in the third, Solon called a full timeout with 35.7 on the clock and 45-41 on the scoreboard.

The fourth quarter was a mix of the second and third quarters results with Fairfield attempting to complete their comeback for the first three plus minutes, including a Breen banked-in three pointer that cut it to 50-44 with 4:48 in the game. The Trojans basically stopped scoring at that point, as Solon finished off Fairfield to advance to the regional finals in Muscatine Monday with a 7-4 run t end their guests season.

Reflecting on the outcome, Flattery said, “It was a tough loss against a good team on their home court.” As for the comeback attempt, he said, “I was proud of the way the guys battled back to cut it to four points in the fourth quarter. The foul situations were just a problem for us.”

Stat lines were: Crile with 14 points and four rebounds, Simpson with 12 points and nine boards, Waugh scored nine points, Cingire had seven points and five dimes, and Breen had five points and four assists.

Flattery was also proud of his teams’ resilence in the regular season when they followed a 4-8 start with a 10-game winning streak that including their first playoff win in a decade.

“They could have cashed it in, but our guys stayed true to the process and were rewarded with 10 straight wins, our first winning record since 2008 and winning a post season game, all great accomplishments.”

As for his two twelth-graders?

“We will miss our two seniors. Aaron Haines was one of our main leaders on the scout team, prepping our guys for every opponent. He could have quit but didn’t. Dante has made himself an all-conference player. All I heard was that he was a turnover machine, but he was far from that. He made himself a stronger, better player, and I think a lot of young men aspiring to be basketball players ought to take a page out of his work ethic.”

Final totals on the team: 14-9 overall with a 7-2 record against SEC teams, including 6-2 in conference play for a second place finish. Plus a playoff win.

Oh, and by the way the Trojans will return with eight seniors next season and a year of the Flattery system in their system.

Next year’s team will not only be fun, they’ll be very good.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Glen Joseph Peiffer | Feb 27, 2018 05:32
If you wish to comment, please login.