SYRACUSE – Opening night of the girls basketball season for Wawasee and Fairfield had its share of jitters. A very green Wawasee team found itself hanging with Fairfield for a while before the visitors found a second gear to pull away with a 55-36 victory Tuesday at the Hardwood Teepee.
The patience of Fairfield on offense and the inexperience of Wawasee on both ends of the court turned what was a six-point game in the third quarter into a double-digit Fairfield advantage in a hurry. Holding just a 24-18 lead minutes into the second half, Fairfield used some sharp shooting behind the arc from Alyssa Zook and Katie Kieper to build a quick 30-18 advantage.
Another three from Kieper, who finished with a team-high 14 points, pushed the lead to 36-22, and Wawasee would get no closer.
“We’ve got a lot of things to work on, and that comes with youth,” Wawasee head coach Kem Zolman said, whose roster had six freshmen and sophomores getting minutes Tuesday. “Not knowing where to be. Coach told me to be somewhere, so I’m there. But there aint anybody there. The offense didn’t get the memo. So, it’s just growing pains they are going through and we’ll take it one game at a time.”
Alexis Zook also added 14 points for Fairfield, hitting all nine of her free throw attempts. Fairfield would hit 13 of its 17 free throw attempts.
Wawasee, on the other hand, really struggled to find its shot after playing a relatively solid first quarter. The Lady Warriors only hit two jumpers in the second and third quarters combined, but what it g
ot away with in the second quarter in keeping close with Fairfield didn’t work in the second half as the visitors kept hitting big shots.
Wawasee also committed near two dozen turnovers in the game and had three players foul out.
The game itself was mired in stoppages in play, with both teams committing 44 fouls and Fairfield even had a technical foul called late for a player substitution violation. It’s the first night jitters, right?
“It’s a long season, and it’s just one game, we’re not going to throw in the tent now,” Zolman said. “The girls showed some fire tonight, and that’s a great thing to see. They will come back to practice tomorrow resilient and ready to work again.”
Wawasee was led by Kylee Rostochak’s 17 points with Hannah Haines chipping in eight points.
The JV contest went to Fairfield by a 38-27 count over Wawasee.
Fairfield (1-0) will host Jimtown Thursday while Wawasee (0-1) will visit Westview Friday evening.