Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 17, 2018

Van Buren girls are good, Fairfield’s better

By Justin Webster | Jan 23, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo Van Buren’s Grace Davidson, left, fights for position against Fairfield junior Kara Jeffrey, center, while Warriors freshman Isabel Manning follows the ball from close behind.

Two of the top girls’ basketball teams in the area played Monday night at FHS when Class 2A’s Van Buren fell to 4A’s No. 11 team Fairfield 54-46.

The two teams ran basically even, while taking turns making mini runs, but the difference in the game came in the final 1:40 of the first half when Fairfield sophomore Shay Drish had nine of her 16 points on three outside jumpers to give the Trojans a 24-16 lead at the break.

Van Buren freshman Isabel Manning made a layup :15 into the third period to start the second-half scoring, however, the Warriors were unable to make a dent in their deficit during the crucial eight-minute span, and entered the fourth quarter still trailing by eight, 35-27.

The Trojans started to pull away early in the final period, but Van Buren buckled down and started scoring at-will the way they are use to.

“I’ll give it to our girls for battling back from 15 or 16,” said Zietler. He continued, “Fairfield has a different style of play that our girls aren’t used to, but the best part is we will learn from each other and then while they have to play a 4A team, we get to go play someone from 2A, and I like our chances in 2A.”

Although Zietler is confident, he knows his team still has work to do during the final three weeks of the regular season.

“We have to go to [9-7] West Burlington who played us close and [14-1] Central Lee who beat us and then probably [13-3] Mediapolis in the [SEISC] conference tournament.”

As far as the Trojans goes, Witzenburg feels his team was finally able to exorcise a demon.

“We’ve played big, tall girls before and this is the third one and if we don’t learn from that, shame on us.”

Witzy added, “Tonight we understood that we need to push the pace against someone with that size and you noticed that near the end of the game, she was tired because of the pace of our game. It’s not about the first quarter. That pace has to last four quarters so that at the end they are worn out. Our girls play so many sports and basketball isn’t really their first passion except for one or two of them, but we are so athletic and the other sports bring so much to us.”

The 6’3 sophomore Taryn Scheuermann is the post player Witzenburg was referencing, and although the Trojans felt like they limited the young star, she still led the Warriors with 20 points. Freshman Isabel Manning was second on the team with nine points, proving that the future is very bright for Van Buren girls’ basketball, regardless of the depth of their postseason run this season.

Even though senior basket-maker Nicole Buch sat on just four points at the half, she ended up leading all scorers with 21 points by the time the final buzzer rang out. As mentioned, Shay D was second for the Trojans with 16 points total.

Shay’s big sister and senior, Ashtyn, was third on the squad with six points, and said her favorite thing about her final season is playing with Shay. “It’s been a surprising change because I don’t really enjoy basketball, but it’s been fun.”

When asked about being both the other senior and the other Drish during basketball season, she said, “It’s actually pretty awesome. I can just play the game and have fun and they both do great jobs in their roles.”

She’s also settling on her future plans, “I’m ready to explore different options in the world. I’m planning on attending Iowa and studying psychology.”

The senior also says she knows her role as the team tightens it’s focus on the playoffs.

“Defense, and scoring as much as I can when I get my opportunities.”

Witzenburg is preparing for any future opponents that may stand between the Trojans and a state tournament berth.

“We have films on about anybody we would have to play. It’s a flip of the coin. You never know what the state is going to do. They could put Marion in with us or Grinnell or North Scott. If we can make the top eight, those three won’t be with us. The top five teams in the state are set but six-seven-eight is up in the air and we need some people lose while we keep winning, and if that happens, it will take care of itself.”

Witzy and his crew will now have Tuesday-Thursday off before roadtripping with the boys’ to Iowa City Liberty Friday night to face the newly formed Lightning at 6 p.m.

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