FAYETTE — The Liberty Center girls basketball couldn’t take advantage of eight Fayette turnovers in the first quarter, falling behind 10-5 after one, and the Lady Tigers never recovered in a 60-51 loss Monday to the Lady Eagles in non-league action.
“I don’t think we were ready to play, and I’ll take the blame for that,” Liberty Center coach Tim Davis said. “We came out and we couldn’t catch the ball and we couldn’t pass the ball. I don’t think, mentally, we were here. That carried throughout the game at different times.
“We’ve talked about this, we aren’t good enough to just roll the basketball out and expect to win the game,” Davis added. “Credit to Fayette, because I think they played a nice game, but we’ve got to be ready to play.”
Cassidy Chapa led LC with 19 points, while Samantha Graber added 12 and Alyssa Giesige nine. Samantha Engler added seven points, while Aubree Hollenbaugh (three) and Sophie Long (one) rounded out the Lady Tigers’ scoring.
Fayette got 19 points and 15 rebounds from Trista Fruchey, while Addisyn Bentley scored a game-high 24 points for the Lady Eagles. Jensyn Robinson chipped in 10 points, while Amber Gaona (five) and Jillian Figgins (two) rounded out the scoring for the hosts.
“She’s long and a nice player for them,” Davis said of Fruchey, who led Fayette to a 33-21 win in the rebounding battle. “She’s a tough matchup inside for us, especially with us being injured a little bit. But we aren’t making excuses. We can’t give up 60 points in a game, because we’re not going to beat anybody when you give up 60 points.”
Liberty Center forced three Fayette turnovers before the Lady Eagles got their first shot off to start the game, but early three-point misses led to the five-point hole after one quarter.
The Lady Tigers rallied to pull within 23-22 in the final seconds of the second quarter, but Robinson hit a three from the top of the key with four seconds left in the frame to give Fayette a 26-22 halftime lead.
Fayette out-scored LC 16-10 in the third quarter to take a 42-32 lead into the fourth, but the Lady Tigers had a run left, pulling even at 47-all on a 15-5 run, capped by a lay-up from Chapa that tied the game.
On the ensuing Fayette possession, however, Fruchey scored her 15th point of the game on a baseline lay-up that gave the Lady Eagles the lead back for good. Bentley finished the fourth quarter making her final four free throws as the hosts pulled away for the 60-51 win.
LC made 13 of its 20 free-throw attempts, while Fayette converted 19 of 27 such looks. The Lady Eagles sank three of six shots from beyond the arc, while the Lady Tigers hit four of 16 tries from deep.
“I thought we had to exert a lot of energy to keep getting back into the game,” Davis said. “I think the fatigue was a factor late in the fourth quarter with us doing some different things. You can’t put yourself in a hole and expect to dig yourself out every time. We did that a couple of times tonight, but we can’t put ourselves in those situations.”
The Lady Tigers won the turnover battle 24-17.
Liberty Center (8-8, 0-3 Northwest Ohio Athletic League) hosts Wauseon Thursday in a league battle in The Jungle, while Fayette (10-5, 6-2 Buckeye Border Conference) hosts Montpelier Thursday in a BBC clash.
LC 5 17 10 19 — 51
F 10 16 16 18 — 60
Liberty Center — Chapa 8-3-19, Graber 1-3-1-12, Engler 1-1-2-7, Giesige 2-5-9, Hollenbaugh 1-1-3, Long 0-1-1, Totals — 13-4-13-51.
Fayette — Bentley 6-12-24, Figgins 1-0-2, Gaona 1-1-0-5, Robinson 2-2-0-10, Fruchey 6-7-19, Totals — 16-3-19-60.