The Fairfield girls’ basketball team traveled to 3-3 Pella Tuesday night where the Class 4A No. 11 Trojans fell to the Little Lady Dutch 54-36 in non-conference play.
Fairfield struggled to find the bottom of the basket early in the ball game, with senior Ashley Bloomquist rimming out a 3-point attempt before getting the ball back after a Trojan rebound and finishing a drive to the basket with 3:37 in the first. The successful and 1 opportunity cut the deficit to just 6-3, despite the sluggish offensive start. The Trojans continued to press defensively and Bloomquist hit a new-school 3-pointer to cut the score to 9-6 with 2:03 left. Seniors Kara Jeffrey and Malory Jones each recorded baskets in the final 1:37 to leave Fairfield within striking distance, 12-10, at the end of the opening eight minutes.
Pella started the period with an 8-0 run before Fairfield called a time out with 6:45 left in the first half. Drish then hit a 3-pointer for her only points of the game and was fouled to boot, but failed to convert the and 1 opportunity with 6:11 on the clock.
“They did a great job with defensive pressure on Shay,” explained head coach Brian Witzenburg. “They were able to deny her the ball after she gave it up and it was tough for her to get up a shot tonight.”
Bloomquist hit another 3-pointer with three minutes remaining in the second, however Pella beat Fairfield back in transition for a lay up to extend their lead to 29-16 before the scoring stopped.
Back-to-back baskets by the Little Lady Dutch gave the home team a 33-16 advantage and forced head coach Brian Witzenburg to call a time out just 1:11 into the second half. After Jeffrey hit two foul shots, Gridley switched to the point with 2:15 in the quarter and nailed a 3-pointer off a screen that freed her on the left wing and left the score 37-23 in favor of Pella. Jones hit a floater with 90 seconds in the period and Shay Drish shot a 3-pointer at the buzzer off of a pick at the top of the key, but the attempt rimmed out and the score remained 41-27, Green and White.
Fairfield scored the first basket when Jeffrey missed a shot attempt, but the Trojans recovered the rebound and she was able to kiss a second opportunity off the glass for the conversion. Jones eighth points of the game made it 44-31 with 6:40 remaining in the contest and Bloomquist’s final bucket with :55 left gave her 12 for the game, a team-high.
“They also did a great job of keeping us off the boards,” added Witzenburg. “We had 19 rebounds and we average 32.5. Their pressure defense and rebounding is what hurt us tonight, but we’re going to go back to the drawing board and getting better and come out and look better Saturday. We’ve got to have more toughness, but everything that went wrong tonight is correctable. We’re good.”
Other scorers: Jeffrey had 10 points and three rebounds, Gridley had three points and five rebounds and Drish had three points.
Saturday Fairfield hosts Iowa City Liberty in a girls/boys non-conference doubleheader before the Trojans host Keokuk on Dec. 20 in the final game before the New Year.