It’s been some lean years for girls basketball in Fayette since the Eagles reached the Division IV Elite 8 in 2016.
But Tim Morr and his Eagles took a step toward getting his program heading back into the right direction by beating Maumee Valley Country Day, 66-38, in the opening round of the Division IV sectional at Wauseon Tuesday.
Fayette now plays Pettisville in a sectional final at Wauseon at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“It had been the regional team a few years ago since the last time we’ve won a tournament game,” said Morr.
“This means a LOT to our program,” the Eagle coach emphasized. “After two years ago when we had zero wins and last year we had three. Now with this win we have five this year, it’s big for the program, it’s big for the girls. We talked at the beginning of the year and our whole year was geared toward the tournament and we wanted to keep getting better and better, and win a tournament game and give them some confidence.”
In a high-paced first quarter, it was Trista Fruchey dominating the glass as the 5’10” sophomore got inside for a pair of baskets, scored another on a third chance rebound, then after snagging two more Eagle misses, she went four of four from foul line for 10 first quarter points.
Shannon Herrmann tossed in two triples and scored twice more in transition for the Hawks to offset Fruchey’s performance but the Eagles took a 19-14 lead as Addisyn Bentley nailed a three-ball and Jillian Figgins scored just before the buzzer for the five point lead.
Alana Pappochio threw in a shot off glass from the top of the key to slice the Eagle lead to 19-17 a minute into the second, but that would be the last points Maumee Valley would score for over eight minutes as the Hawks misfired the next 10 shots.
During that time, Fayette rang up 22 straight to take complete control.
Fruchey scored four more times in the first half on a combination of offensive rebounds and fast break hoops, Bentley hit twice from the baseline and Figgins pumped in a bank off the wing and a triple for a 36-17 halftime lead.
Fruchey again scored easy inside to start the third, then Rhys Ruger drilled a three-pointer at the top of the key for a 41-17 lead with 6:48 left in the third to finish the run.
Mataya Rufenacht’s six early points in the fourth pushed the Eagles to their biggest lead at 60-28 with 4:38 remaining.
Thanks to Fruchey’s efforts on the offensive glass, Fayette held a 37-26 mark on the glass.
The Eagles also committed just 13 turnovers, including just six in the first three quarters.
“We probably average 18-19 turnovers a game so for us to be able to take care of the basketball, be strong with it around the basket and not turn it over down there was big,” explained Morr.
Fruchey was the only double figure scorer with 26 points. Herrmann had 16 for the Hawks.
The Eagles’ game with Pettisville will be the third of the season between the teams as the Blackbirds took the first two during the regular season.
“We played tough the first two times with them,” Morr said of Saturday’s game. “The girls wanted to get Pettisville a third time and they came out and played really well tonight.”
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org