By ROGER THOMAS
---- — FAIRFIELD — Monday night, in the season opener for both boys basketball teams, Fairfield and Oskaloosa played a dead-even, low-scoring first half tied 18-18.
The scoring picked up for both squads in the third quarter, but the Trojans used a key 8-0 run to build a lead they turned into a 58-49 season-opening win over the Indians.
Each team's leading scorer got the game started. Landon Gamrath scored for Fairfield before Ryan Reiter quickly tied it with two free throws. Gamrath, with 14 points, led three Trojans with double figures. Reiter had 27 for the Indians to lead all scorers.
Federico Ferretti, who scored 10 points for Fairfield, hit a 3-pointer to give the Trojans the lead. That trey was followed by two from Reiter for an 8-5 Indian lead.
The quarter would close with Oskaloosa up 10-9.
Two early baskets by Matt Carr in the second gave the Trojans a 15-13 lead. Reiter, who had eight of his 27 points in the opening quarter, went scoreless in the second quarter and the Indians struggled with a single basket and six free throws, but still were tied with Fairfield at the half.
Gamrath and Reiter traded baskets to open the final half. Each would go on to have a big quarter. Reiter would keep the Indians close with 12 points in the first eight minutes of the second half, but the rest of the offense contributed only a single free throw.
“We’re confident that we have guys who can score,” said Oskaloosa coach Zach Tremmel. “Tonight, we let what they were doing affect our offensive efficiency. We need to handle the pressure better.”
With the lead at 27-26 in favor of the Trojans, Gamrath triggered the 8-0 run that ended with Fairfield up 35-26.
“I just feel familiar with this group of guys and I’ve really tried to expand my game by working with coach Sathoff,” said Gamrath.
Coach Sathoff, is Jordan Sathoff, a former Pekin star and recent graduate from the Wartburg college basketball program, where he also had a standout career.
The major reason for the run to a more than three possession advantage was a change in defenses.
“We played this defense earlier in the game and it wasn’t good,” said Fairfield coach Tyler Miklo. “It allowed us to get a couple of steals and run outs for scores.”
“It was definitely a step up in their pressure,” added Tremmel.
Matt Carr also had a big third quarter for Fairfield. He had six of his 13 points to help the Trojans lead 37-31 after three.
One of the Trojans who seemed to have his hand in everything his teammates did was Jordan Whitney. He opened the fourth with a basket to put the lead at eight. He would also go to the foul line four times in the quarter as Fairfield closed out the game.
“I’ve always tried to be the guy that does whatever the team needs,” said Whitney. “My overall stats are not a top priority for me.”
Reiter had his final seven points in the fourth quarter and he got some offensive help from Max Johnson. Johnson had all nine of his points in the game’s final five minutes.
Osky could get no closer than eight points the rest of the way, as Fairfield hit 11 free throws and and committed only two of their five turnovers for the game. Ferretti led the Trojan offense in the final quarter with seven points.
“It was a typical first game. We were sloppy at times and we didn’t do so well on the defensive glass,” said Miklo. “We’ve talked to our guys over the last few years that every game is a building block. This was a good way to start the season.”
Fairfield (1-0) will host 3A powerhouse Mount Pleasant Friday night in a Southeast Iowa Conference opener. Oskaloosa (0-1) will host Pella in a Little Hawkeye-opening tilt.
FAIRFIELD 58, OSKALOOSA 49
OSKY 10 8 13 18 – 49
FF 9 9 19 21 – 58
Oskaloosa (49) – Max Johnson 9, Spencer Medlin 4, Ryder Curtis 3, Ryan Reiter 27, Kalton Bunnell 4, Cayden Carter 2. Totals 15-41 16-30 49.
3-point goals – 3-12 (Reiter 2, Johnson). Fouled out – Curtis. Rebounds – 43 (Reiter 15). Assists – 7 (Johnson 3). Steals – 4 (Johnson, Medlin, Curtis, Reiter). Blocks – 1 (Bunnell). Total fouls – 22. Turnovers – 19.
Fairfield (58) – Jordan Reid 7, Joseph Hietpas 2, Federico Ferretti 10, Vincent Horras 4, Matt Carr 13, Landon Gamrath 14, Jordan Whitney 5, Cameron Baumann 2, Alex Crile 1. Totals 21-60 14-23 58.
3-point goals – 2-16 (Reid, Ferretti). Fouled out – Ferretti, Horras. Rebounds – 29 (Horras8). Assists – 7 (Hietpas 2, Horras 2). Steals – 12 (Hietpas 4, Horras 4). Blocks – 2 (Gamrath 2). Total fouls – 22. Turnovers – 5.