FAIRBORN — There’s no mosquitoes in Ohio in December, but Fairborn’s varsity girls basketball team’s defensive play seemed just as pesky in a 53-36 win over visiting Riverside Stebbins.
Playing a full-court, in-your-face brand of defense for pretty much the entire game seemed to simply wear down the Indians. The host Skyhawks jumped out to a 9-0 lead, enabled Stebbins to respond with eight points of its own, then reeled off another nine-point run to go ahead 18-8, with still about three minutes left to play in the first half.
Stebbins managed to hit some three-pointers to pull within seven points at the break, 13-20, but a 7-0 Fairborn run to start the second half put the game out of reach for the Indians.
“We played hard, but I really liked the way Fairborn was playing tonight. They changed up their defenses, and I liked how they were able to get into a 2-3 zone, then get into the passing lanes. … And we knew they had a really good pressure package. We knew it going in. But knowing it, and seeing it happen are two different things,” Stebbins coach Ron Coleman said.
“Hats off to Fairborn. They have a really good press defense, and they’re able to switch up their defenses as well. I thought that was the difference tonight.”
Unofficially, Stebbins recorded 20 turnovers. Fairborn (2-5, 2-3 Miami Valley League Valley division) had 16, with most of those being self-induced mistakes from pushing the ball upcourt.
“I’m really proud of them. Stebbins is a very hard working team, but yes. I’m really proud of the way my girls played, especially after halftime. We challenged them to come out and play our game, and they did that,” Fairborn first-year coach Brooke Summit said.
A trio of Skyhawks finished the game with double-figure scoring. Sophomore guard Natalie Oktavec led everybody with 20 points, with 12 of that total coming in the second half. Junior guard Jodee Austin finished with 14 points, and senior forward Miyu Williams added a season-best 10.
“We’re trying to put all four quarters together, trying to put a whole game together. That’s been one of our messages to the kids for these past few games, and I think we’re starting to do that a little more,” Summit said. “Natalie Oktavec gets us started, and really gets us rolling, and it’s good to see the rest of the team contributing well too.”
Oktavec presently leads the Miami Valley League in scoring with a 20.3 points per game average.
Fairborn is back at the Baker Middle School gym for its next game: a noon contest on Saturday, Dec. 21 against Miami Valley League Miami division leader Tipp City Tippecanoe (5-3, 5-0 MVL Miami).
Bailey Roche led Stebbins with 11 points. The Indians are at home on Saturday as well, with an 11:15 a.m. start against Piqua.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.