BRYAN – Fayette, despite a rough start to the game that saw them trail by as much as 10 in the opening quarter and 19-12 at the half, rebounded to take the lead in the second half before eventually succumbing to Antwerp, 36-32, in a Division IV girls basketball sectional semifinal at Bryan Tuesday night.
The Archers kept the Eagles guessing by constantly switching defenses, often times picking up the pressure full court to create turnovers.
They went up 4-2 just past the halfway point of the first quarter on Karsyn Brumett’s 3-pointer and 1 of 2 free throws from Heather Oberlin, while Addisyn Bentley and Trista Fruchey each split a pair of free throws for Fayette.
Antwerp then got six straight points from Astianna Coppes, building an eight point advantage at the 2:08 mark. Oberlin got free inside for a basket 31 seconds later, putting the Archers ahead 12-2 and forcing an Eagle timeout.
“They were scoring on everything that we had scouted. So I was a little frustrated with that,” said Fayette coach Ryan Colegrove of the Eagles’ slow start. “But that’s been the M/O of this team all year, we haven’t given up. And we’re gonna keep battling. We’re gonna fight hard, and they kept doing that. We still never really got any outside shots to fall. But we started going inside and finding ways to get it in to Fruchey. She took the ball to the basket strong and finished.”
Fruchey scored the final four Eagle points of the first, but another Oberlin bucket in the paint made it 14-6 after one quarter.
Fayette started to figure out Antwerp in the second quarter, limiting them to just one made basket in the first 6:27, a deuce from Molly Reinhart. The Eagles, on the other hand, got four more from Fruchey plus Bentley’s elbow jumper.
However, a Brumett 3-pointer with 15 seconds to go set the halftime difference at 19-12.
Facing the Archers’ stingy zone, better ball movement and not settling for quick threes were keys in kickstarting the Eagle offense, according to Colegrove.
“We’re not a great 3-point shooting team. I told the girls, we gotta be ready for a zone,” he said. “But still, we can’t fall in love with the three – which we kind of did at the beginning. Just chucking threes off of one pass. We weren’t getting inside touches. When we started getting the inside touches, then they started sagging in a little bit. Then on the kick-outs, we could shoot. We just never got them (3-pointers) to go.”
Fruchey had nine third quarter points, at one point scoring seven straight for the Eagles to give them their first lead, 23-22, with 1:16 to go.
With the clock winding down in the frame, and after relinquishing the lead back, Fayette’s Amber Gaona cleaned up her own miss for a 25-24 Eagle lead heading into the fourth.
The teams continued to trade blows in the fourth; however, the Archers had the final say.
Fayette grabbed a 30-29 lead at the 4:30 mark following Robinson’s jumper, a bucket by Fruchey and 1 of 2 free throws. The Eagles would be held to just two points over the final four plus minutes.
Oberlin split a pair from the line to tie the score with 4:15 left, Coppes added a bucket off a backcut, then Brumett’s three from the left wing gave Antwerp a 35-30 lead with 2:42 remaining.
Fruchey’s bucket off an assist from Robinson snapped the mini Archer run, but the Eagles failed to cash in on their remaining opportunities.
All things considered, the 2019-20 campaign was a success for Fayette and its first-year coach. They finish at 12-11 on the year, which is seven wins more than the year prior.
“I kind of set a goal in my head to get to double figures this year,” said Colegrove. “Just because they won five games last year, to kind of double that. And they only won like eight in the last three years combined. I thought we needed to try to turn it in the right direction. I knew we had the ability to do that. If they listened. And they played hard all year so I was happy with that.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010