Girls basketball: Fairfield goes through motions in loss to Panthers

Fairfield High School’s Olivia Jones (left) tightly guards Mount Pleasant’s Emma Huckabone during Friday’s Southeast Conference girls basketball game in Mount Pleasant

Chad Drury The Courier

MOUNT PLEASANT — Fairfield High School girls basketball coach Jeff Miller figured a letdown was in order.

He was right.

Three nights after shooting almost 60 percent from the floor in an upset of Class 4A-ranked Knoxville, the Trojans couldn’t find their stroke from the outside in a 47-33 Southeast Conference setback to Mount Pleasant Friday.

“We were making only one or two passes, and that wasn’t working for us,” Miller said. “We dug ourselves a hole. We just never had the emotion we needed.”

Emma Huckabone scored 10 points for Mount Pleasant, which had two solid wins this week as it heads toward postseason play. The Panthers edged Ottumwa Monday, then followed it up by avenging an 18-point loss to the Trojans the first time around.

“I told the girls that they can’t just show up and play,” Miller said. “Every game you have to lace them up. We were just flat tonight.”

The Panthers scored 10 of the first 12 points of the game and were never really threatened. Fairfield (12-8, 6-3 SEC) never got closer than five the rest of the way, which happened twice in the first half, the last when Delaney Breen buried a 3-pointer to pull within 19-14.

Fairfield got the occasional stop defensively, but couldn’t turn it into points at the other end of the floor. At times, Mount Pleasant was able to get inside for easy baskets, but the Panthers also hit some jumpers, making it difficult for the Trojans to defend.

The Panthers led 29-16 at halftime and continued to extend the lead in the second half. After Shaylin Drish scored on a layup to bring the Trojans within 31-21, the Panthers finished the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 15-point advantage, with Isabel Ashton’s 3-pointer a dagger.

Fairfield made just four baskets in the second half, and struggled to drive to the basket as Mount Pleasant’s defense collapsed and deflected passes.

“You have to credit it them. They made it tough,” Miller said. “Why not make us shoot from the outside? You do that until the other team makes them. We tried four different offenses, and we just weren’t in sync.”

Drish and Danielle Breen scored nine points apiece to lead the Trojans, who had five players in double figures in an 81-52 win over 15th-ranked (4A) Knoxville Tuesday.

Fairfield couldn’t come close to repeating that performance.

“This is disappointing because it’s a conference game,” Miller said. “I knew it would be tough, but it is what it is.”

The Trojans wrap up the regular season today when they visit Burlington for a Southeast Conference matchup.

Chad Drury can be reached at cdrury@ottumwacourier.com, and on Twitter @ChadDrury

Chad Drury can be reached at cdrury@ottumwacourier.com, and on Twitter @ChadDrury

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