Alexandra Haar knew she had to convert the routine layup. The pass was that good.
When Lakota West senior forward Lexi Wasan drove a good length of the floor early in the third quarter Wednesday night, she found herself in a two-on-one situation.
With a nifty behind-the-back pass to her sophomore teammate Haar, the Firebirds extended their lead to 27 points over Fairfield at the 5:35 mark. That was Haar’s only field goal of the night and both players was all smiles after the game.
It was that type of night for Wasan and the No. 7 nationally-ranked Firebirds, who went on to defeat Fairfield 67-34.
“I was driving down and I heard the defender come over,” Wasan said. “So I saw her on my peripheral. I knew she was going to make so it was fine.”
Just like in practice.
Lakota West won its fifth consecutive game this season and the 26th overall going back to the Firebirds’ Division I state championship season in the 2014-15 school year.
Wasan, a Shawnee State signee, had a team-high 17 points along with four rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Nia Staples (West Virginia signee) added 11 points and three rebounds.
Lakota West (5-0, 4-0 GMC) is ranked seventh nationally by the USA Today Expert Rankings. The Firebirds are ranked No. 12 nationally by the MaxPreps Xcellent 25.
Lakota West is ranked No. 1 in The Enquirer Division I coaches’ poll. Fairfield (5-2, 2-2 GMC) is ranked No. 8.
Lakota West shot 48.1 percent (26 of 54) while Fairfield shot 23.4 percent (11 of 47).
“I thought our early defense set the tone and we executed,” Lakota West coach Andy Fishman said.
The Firebirds exhibited some of the same traits that led them to the program’s first state title this past March in Columbus.
A strong defensive effort along with excellent passing and shooting are present once again this season.
Multiple players can interchange positions giving a versatility to an already talented Firebirds squad.
Lakota West senior guard Danielle Wells (Indiana University East signee) had a game-high eight rebounds to go along with four assists and two steals.
Lakota West led Fairfield 56-22 at the end of the third quarter – a 34-point difference which marked its largest lead of the night.
Fishman said he was a bit concerned with the number of turnovers and his squad missed a lot of easy shots early. But, the Firebirds saw things even out later in the game.
The Firebirds had 18 assists compared to Fairfield’s seven for the game.
Lakota West scored 27 points off Fairfield’s 21 turnovers through three quarters.
Fairfield was led by senior guard Allie Lyon who had 14 points and three rebounds.
Lakota West led 41-14 at halftime. The Firebirds opened the second quarter on an 8-1 run. The Firebirds didn’t allow a field goal until the 4:31 mark of the second quarter.
Fairfield shot 22.2 percent in the first half (6 of 27) and had 14 turnovers. Lakota West shot 45.7 percent and outscored Fairfield 20-2 on points off turnovers in the first half.
Wasan had a game-high 13 points at halftime for the Firebirds. Staples had nine points at halftime.
Lakota West led Fairfield 18-8 at the end of the first quarter. The Firebirds held Fairfield to 25 percent shooting in the first quarter (4-for-16).
The Firebirds went on an 8-0 run after freshman guard Bryanna Henderson made a layup to give Lakota West a 7-4 lead at the 3:31 mark. Lakota West held its largest lead of the quarter at 14-4 on Henderson’s free throw at the 1:51 mark.
Lakota West has won seven consecutive games against Fairfield and 20 of the past 21 between the two teams, according to Lakota West co-sports information director Bob Ashby.
Lakota West next plays host to Colerain at 2 p.m. Saturday. Fairfield plays at Sycamore at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Fairfield (5-2, GMC 2-2) – Evans 0 2 2, Bell 0 1 1, Lyon 6 2 14, Tyus 1 0 2, Spaulding 0 1 1, Roberts-Rosser 1 1 3, Bentley 2 2 6, Mills 0 2 2, Schaeffer 1 1 3. Totals: 11 12 34
Lakota West (5-0, 4-0) – Wells 1 1 3, Henderson 2 1 5, Staples 5 0 11, Oxley 1 0 3, Haynes 1 0 2, Jones 2 2 7, Haar 1 0 2, Jackson 1 0 2, Laritz 3 1 7, Jackson 1 0 2, Wasan 6 5 17, Prohaska 2 2 6. Totals: 26 12 67
3-pointers: L 3 (Staples, Oxley, Jones)