Huge night as Trojan girls find identity

Darby Kaska brings the ball up court Tuesday night with senior Blair Bowman tailing close behind.
Darby Kaska brings the ball up court Tuesday night with senior Blair Bowman tailing close behind.

The Fairfield girls’ basketball team defeated a solid opponent Tuesday night in the now 5-7 PCM Mustangs, 62-49.

“That was a really good opponent with a really good guard in Regan Freland,” explained Trojan girl’s head basketball coach Brian Witzenburg. “She’s the real deal and maybe one of the best guards we’ll play against all year and it was big for us to hold her to her average(15.9 ppg), and not let her go off. (Freland scored 18 points) She’s comparable to MacKenzie Northup from Keokuk and we feel PCM and the Chiefs are comparable with a little different personnel.”

The outcome was excellent for Fairfield, but the offensive took about two minutes to get going with the mustangs leading 4-0 before seniors Malory Jones and Kara Jeffrey hit back-to-back baskets to tie it with 5:43 left in the opening frame. Junior Destiny Gridley hit a 3-pointer 5:05 into the contest to give the Trojans their first lead at 11-10 and the Orange and Black held a 14-13 advantage at the end of eight minutes.

“I feel that this could be a turning point in our season,” said Witzenburg. “We had a tough time figuring out who we were before christmas and night’s like tonight let me know that we are figuring out who we are. Our balanced scoring is who we are. I’ll tell you what, our ball movement that I saw tonight is what we have to have to make our strides forward and get better every day.”

The Trojans took off in the second and outscored their guests 19-8 to take a commanding 33-21 lead into the locker room.

“Our depth was huge,” added Witz. “We went nine-deep in the first half and for us to do that, we had eight scorers of that nine. To get production from everybody on the floor is huge and that is the turning point.

We can be deep consistently, but it’s hard to do that if we don’t get the production and those kids came in and hit some shots and are building confidence every day in practice and now they are taking the shots in the game and that’s huge.”

The second half was more of the same with the Trojans holding a 47-25 advantage at the end of three quarters play before collecting the non-conference win by a bakers dozen at home.


Shay Drish 16, Destiny Gridley 10, Ashley Bloomquist 10, Kara Jeffrey 10, Malory Jones 5, Jill Dunlap 4, Danielle Breen 3 and Darby Kaska 2.



“What stood out was that our team chemistry was just finally there and it was a huge night for us.”


“Our rebounding was a lot better because we’ve been working on boxing out more. Finding a body and keeping them out of the lane and then elevating for the rebound.”


“The bench was more involved and excited and the blood was absolutely flowing more knowing that we could go in at any time.”

SEC’s second rotation

“Here’s the thing with Mt. Pleasant,” said Witzenburg. “They came here and we shot 22-percent from the field, we did not shoot the ball very well and I would expect us to shoot better. It’s on their court so we’re going to have to shoot a little bit better but it’s always going to be a tough competition with us and Mt. Pleasant, it just is. Anybody can win and if we aren’t ready, they can get us so we have to prepare and start that game doing what we need to do.”

What do you need to do to consider this a successful year?

“Just to make sure that we are playing the best basketball that we can at the end of the season, that’s the huge part,” said Witz.

And we just hope the games get played in warmer and warmer weather, right?

“Exactly, exactly!”

Next for the 7-4 Trojans is a road trip to Mt. Pleasant Friday for a 6:15 p.m. tipoff against the 2-9 Panthers who have won their last two SEC games.