Fayette took its first lead since early in the first quarter with just 2:45 remaining, never looking back while on their way to a 32-23 win over Ayersville in non-league girls basketball Saturday afternoon.
In a tight battle most of the way, and down only three entering the fourth quarter, Fayette coach Ryan Colegrove felt comfortable with his team’s position.
“That’s what I told the girls when we went into the locker room after the game, I said ‘fourth quarter is crunch time and you guys have been doing a great job in the fourth quarter. (But) It’d be nice if we did that earlier. So I’d have some hair left by end of the year,” joked Colegrove after the game. “Fourth quarter last night too against Pettisville (a 43-31 win) is when we opened it up. When we really played well. So we’ve been coming through when it means something, which I’m happy with these girls. Because they hadn’t had a lot of success before this year winning those games. Those tight games.”
A total of eight points were scored in the third quarter by both teams, and Ayersville led 19-16 going into the fourth.
However, just 11 seconds into the final period Fayette’s Amber Gaona got free for a game-tying triple. The pendulum continued to swing back and forth until Gaona’s basket on a drive to the hoop gave the Eagles a 25-23 lead with just under three minutes remaining.
“Basically, we just needed to go back to doing things the right way,” said Colegrove of his team’s fourth quarter rally. “Especially the first half, and then the third quarter, we were kind of just going through the motions. We had a BBC game last night. Got some girls that are sick and stuff. So we’re short-handed.
“That fourth quarter, we made some adjustments to our zone offense a little bit. Got the guards up a little higher. So that way when our point guard went through, told them to wait until she’s set and ready, then we hit the three right at the beginning of that fourth quarter. It kind of set the tone that, okay if we listen maybe we’ll do things the right way.”
Addisyn Bentley would beat the Pilot defense up the court for another bucket with 2:16 left, bumping the Eagle lead to 27-23. The Eagles went on a 9-0 run to end the game, holding the Pilots without a point in the final 6:35. They also made 4 of 5 from the foul line in the last two minutes.
“We did a better job of getting to their shooters,” said Colegrove of the Eagle defense in the fourth quarter. “And we stopped getting beat backdoor and stuff. Kind of just took care of business there.
“That defense kind of carried into the offense a litle bit too towards the end. Then we did finally make some free throws, which helps.”
Ayersville took a 6-4 lead late in the first quarter on Kryshel Dales’ hoop and never looked back until the fourth. They led by as many as eight in the second period when two Kaylor Martin free throws, a Kaylee Dockery made jumper, and Callie Dishop’s bucket put them up 15-7 at the 2:28 mark.
But, Fayette did pull within three at the half thanks to a deuce from Jada Reinking plus a Gaona three.
Gaona finished with 10 points to pace the Eagles, Bentley eight and Trista Fruchey seven. Dales notched 10 for Ayersville (3-8).
Fayette (7-3, 5-1 BBC) travels to North Central Tuesday and Swanton on Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010