Courier sports staff
It wouldn’t have been the first time Mick Flattery had led a Fairfield basketball team on a surprising run to the state tournament.
It would have been the first time, however, Flattery would have led a team to the girls state basketball tournament.
After leading the Fairfield boys to three state tournament trips over the years, Flattery was trying to lead the Trojan girls to state with a third straight postseason upset. After avenging regular season losses to Mount Pleasant and No. 10 Oskaloosa, the magic ran out Tuesday in the Class 4A, Region 5 finals at Iowa Valley High School Gym.
Third-ranked Benton Community proved to be too much for Fairfield, scoring a 60-33 win over the Trojans. The Bobcats and head coach Laurie Donald return to the state tournament after losing in the 3A quarterfinals to Ballard and will play in the first of four Class 4A state quarterfinal games against eighth-ranked Harlan Tuesday night at 6:45 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines in a battle of 21-2 squads.
Benton has lost just twice this season, both to Center Point-Urbana, and won their postseason opener easily over Grinnell 59-31 on Saturday. Fairfield, meanwhile, edged Mount Pleasant 52-45 and No. 10 Osky 54-49 on the tournament trail thanks to a regional-best 25.5 points per game by senior Sidney Baumann, the Trojans lone double-figure scorer with 18.2 points per game this season.
Flattery, who is in his second season as Trojan head girls basketball coach, was looking to make it to state for the first time since the Fairfield boys made it to the 2007 Class 3A state tournament in the final season for Flattery as boys head basketball coach. The Trojans finish the season at 11-13, but lose just three seniors overall in Baumann, Brittany Kurtz and Miranda Metcalf.