RUSHVILLE – Steve Clippinger has talked all season long about Fairfield Union’s quest to play a perfect game.
If the Falcons did not achieve that with their first half Saturday, they came close.
Fairfield Union forced more than 20 turnovers and led 41-6 after the first half of a 66-30 Mid-State League-Buckeye Division win against visiting Amanda-Clearcreek.
“That’s pretty good,” Clippinger said. “We started a little bit slow again that first minute. We needed to focus and get people in the right spot in the press, but just little things like that.”
A full-court press by the Falcons (4-1, 3-1) caused many problems for the Aces (2-5, 1-3). A 21-0 run spanning the first and second quarters fueled by turnovers helped Fairfield Union jump to a huge lead. When Amanda-Clearcreek got past the press, it settled down. But the Falcons made that a rarity with its relentless defense spearheaded by junior Tara Glaze, who repeatedly tipped or stole the ball from the Aces.
Most of Amanda-Clearcreek’s turnovers came around half court, and that only made it easier for Fairfield Union to convert the miscues into points and build its lead.
“(Pressure defense) is kind of what we’re about,” Clippinger said. “When the kids buy into it and really see the effects of it, I think it just snowballs.”
The Falcons led 16-3 after the first quarter and outscored the Aces 25-3 in the second to go into halftime with a 35-point lead. Amanda-Clearcreek was held to 10 percent shooting and 22 turnovers. Fairfield Union shot 48 percent and had eight players in the score in the first half.
“Fairfield Union’s a good basketball team, but we made them look really good,” Aces coach Butch Kobel said. “We looked like we had never practiced a press offense.”
Anna Voris hit six 3-pointers and had a game-high 20 points. She was the beneficiary of good spacing and many open looks, as she made her final five 3s before sitting down for good in the third with a big lead.
“That’s all it is with me, just rhythm,” Voris said. “I just let it go. I don’t even think about them.”
Kyleigh Wyeth, the Falcons’ leading scorer, attempted only three shots all game. She had four assists as she let the rest of her teammates handle most of the scoring load.
Courtney Hanna had 13 points, Courtney Bernard added nine and Payton Dennis seven as all 10 Falcons who played scored.
Amanda-Clearcreek was without leading scorer Kacee Salyers, who is on an out-of-state volleyball trip, Kobel said. The Aces’ coach didn’t expect the team’s ball-handling to diminish so much without Salyers, but theystruggled to get anything going.
Bekah Legg had a team-high eight points, and Carlie Young had seven for Amanda-Clearcreek.
“If one player affects us that much, then we have problems,” Kobel said. “She makes a difference, but there are going to be times, whether it’s illness or injury, that people got to step up and play. And they didn’t tonight.”