By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
As the 2012-13 IHSAA girls basketball sectional tournament nears – with the draw coming up Sunday night — precious little time remains for area teams to tune up and get ready for Hoosier Hysteria.
With the regular season winding down, Fairfield and West Noble met in an NECC contest Thursday night at Fairfield. And it was the young Falcons — a team that features no seniors — pulling away from the Chargers in the second half for a 65-48 win.
With the victory, Fairfield improved to 11-7 overall (7-2 NECC). West Noble fell to 13-7 (7-2).
Foul trouble plagued the Chargers on this night, according to West Noble coach Dale Marano. Senior center Haley Richardson and senior guard Kelsie Peterson both spent significant parts of the second half on the bench due to fouls.
“But Fairfield played very well, give them the credit,” Marano added. “We’ll get back to work and fix some things.”
Fairfield jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead, but West Noble battled back and the two teams traded the lead for much of the opening stanza. Trailing 14-13 late in the period, the Falcons closed the frame with a 6-0 run and never looked back, leading by as many as 21 late in the game.
It was just the kind of quality win first-year Fairfield head coach Brodie Garber had been looking for as his young team comes together.
And Garber was especially pleased to see his team bounce back quickly after a disappointing loss at home to Goshen Tuesday night.
“We did a much better job of taking care of the ball tonight,” Garber said.
Junior center Haley Brown is one of the players expected to provide leadership in the absence of a senior group, and on Thursday night, Brown was a force in the middle for the Falcons, with 24 points and eight rebounds.
“We came out and played with some confidence tonight,” Brown said. “My teammates were doing a great job of getting me the ball.”
The Falcons also got 16 points from Jenna Kieper and 11 from Katie Yates.
Peterson led the Chargers with 18 points. Richardson added 15.
Fairfield was a 26-22 winner in the J.V. contest. Taylor Stidham led the J.V. Falcons with eight points. Brooke Lutton led West Noble with eight points.
Fairfield travels to Fremont on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. matinee contest. West Noble is idle until next Friday night, Feb. 1