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FF Girls to State

Fairfield Girls Stun North Scott, Head to State

By Jason Van Arkel, February 21, 2018

Tuesday night’s regional final appeared to be following the script. #14 Fairfield had its moments in the first quarter, but the defending Class 4A champs, #4 North Scott, opened up a 20-13 lead. The Lancers seemed to be on their way to another appearance at Wells Fargo Arena.

Suddenly, though, the Fairfield girls flipped the script, and the Trojan defense punched their first ticket to the state tournament in 28 years.

Fairfield held North Scott to just five points in the second quarter and four points in the third quarter, seizing the lead and pulling away for a 55-44 victory. The Trojans will head to state for the first time since 1990, and make just their second appearance since girls basketball switched to the five-player game.

Senior Nicole Buch led Fairfield with 18 points, and also dished out a team-high six assists. The program’s all-time leading scorer has seen a lot of success in her career–the Trojans have won 68 games in the past four seasons–but Tuesday night’s victory allowed Buch and fellow senior Ashtyn Drish to overcome three years of regional disappointment. Drish had 11 points and six rebounds, while her younger sister, sophomore Shaylin Drish, totaled 15 points and five boards.

It was the defense, though, that allowed Fairfield to pull the upset. North Scott averages 56 points per game, but after giving up 20 in the opening quarter, the Trojans allowed only 24 points in the final three quarters. They outscored the Lancers 12-5 in the second quarter, going into halftime tied at 25. A 13-4 third quarter put Fairfield firmly in control, and although North Scott made a push with 15 points in the final eight minutes, The Trojans held them off for the 11-point triumph.

Fairfield won’t know who or when they’ll play in the 4A state tournament until later tonight, until the regional final between #3 Grinnell and #15 Pella is complete. As it stands now, Fairfield is the lowest-ranked team in the 4A field, and would likely face #1 Marion in the quarterfinals. However, if Pella upsets Grinnell, Fairfield would likely draw #2 Council Bluffs Lewis Central instead.

The 4A quarterfinal games will be played Monday evening at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:30, and Tuesday morning at 10:00. The pairings and game times will be announced by the IGHSAU after the Grinnell-Pella game is complete.