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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, February 10, 2018 6:10 pm

Fairfield 43, Concordia 41

Cadets fall in 3A regional semifinals

MARK SCHUTTE | For The Journal Gazette

COLUMBIA CITY – As his team was ready to take the floor to warm up for its Class 3A regional semifinal Saturday, Concordia coach Dave Miller gave his team one final reminder.

“It’s a regional game, so be composed. Have great composure and just stay focused,” Miller said. “We’re so young; we didn’t do that."

At least not when it mattered most.

The Cadets committed seven turnovers and scored just nine points in the fourth quarter to watch a 12-point lead turn into a 43-41 loss to Fairfield in the regional semifinals.

The Cadets (17-8), playing in their fourth straight regional, built a 14-point lead in the first half.

Chanteese Craig scored two of her 12 points to open the fourth period to make it 34-22. But the Cadets, who start two freshmen and have another freshman and sophomore among their first players off the bench, began to show their age.

Carissa Garcia, whose 13 points in the first quarter sparked the Cadets, was being pressured by a constant double-team from the Falcons, and the Cadets went 3½ minutes without scoring, committing four turnovers.

“It’s that old adage, somebody else is going to have to beat us this game,” Fairfield coach Brodie Garber said of pressuring Garcia.

Fairfield (23-2) has five senior starters, and it showed as the Falcons went on a 10-0 run to get back in the game. 

“They just ran two or three people at Carissa, and we needed to do a better job of getting it out of her hands and sharing the basketball a little bit and moving the basketball where it needed to go,” Miller said. “I don’t think we did that very well. Again, that’s a composure thing. You lose your focus a little bit when that composure goes and then you can’t make the right decision, the right play.”

Craig broke the Cadets’ dryspell with a basket to make it 36-32, but the Falcons scored the next five points to take just their first lead since the opening minutes, 37-36.

Craig again put Concordia up with a nifty hook in the lane to make it 38-37 with 2:28 left, the Cadets' last lead. Garcia missed the front end of back-to-back 1-and-1s, and Schwartz hit a 3-pointer to put the Falcons up 40-38 with 56 seconds left.

Concordia's C.C. Galloway missed a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left, and Schwartz hit two free throws to make it 42-38 with 18 seconds remaining.

Garcia, who had a game-high 18, scored her only points of the second half with a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to cut the lead to 42-41. Schwartz, who had nine of her team-high 13 in the final period, then hit one of two free throws.

“I think as a team we lost our composure,” Garcia said. “We didn’t stick to our game plan and that’s what happens when you don’t do that. It stings right now. Our underclassmen have to grow, get stronger and get ready for next season.”