The Fairfield varsity basketball team defeated Ottumwa High 54-51 Tuesday night at Evans Middle School, something the Trojan boys hadn’t done since 1998.
“Great win on the home of a Class 4A school,” said head coach Mick Flattery.
Carson Crile was definitely MVP of the night, knocking down three after three to continually cushion the Trojans as Ottumwa refused to quit trying to come back.
The senior Crile ended the evening with a game-high 20 points, looking more offensively-aggressive like the 15-point per game scorer that led the Trojans his sophomore season, than the more reserved-yet-still-effective 10 points per game he contributed in 2017-18 when Fairfield had a more balanced attack and was able to record their first winning season in a decade.
“Crile was hot,” said Flattery. “Knocking down three 3-pointers in a row is an example of how goood of a shooter Carson is, and Austin Simpson and Tristin Waugh passed the ball really well inside. That’s the nice thing about this team, we can have a variety of guys be our leading scorer, so we can be very hard to guard.”
The game started with a Crile 3-pointer before Ottumwa went on a 10-2 run over the next four-plus minutes when senior Cole Engle made a layup to cut the Trojans’ deficit to 10-7.
Classmate Collin Breen collected his first basket, a 3-pointer with 2:55 left in the first to tie it at 10-10.
The senior Simpson and junior Drew Martin each added layups, before Crile responded to a Bulldog basket with his second successful perimeter shot of the game to make it 17-12 Fairfield.
The Trojans took a touchdown lead with 6:10 left in the second when Ottumwa called a time out down 21-14, although that didn’t slow Flattery’s guys as they extended their lead to 26-15 before Ottumwa hit a 3-pointer midway through the period.
Fairfield held a 30-21 lead at halftime and Jeremy Crile won the duck toss.
Ottumwa started the second half scoring with a 3-pointer to trail by just six, but lo and behold, the quarterback/forward Crile answered with another deep ball of his own to push the lead back to nine. Crile then hit back-to-back 3’s to push the Trojan advantage to 13 at 39-26 with 5:16 in the third when Ottumwa called for a time out.
“We built a big lead in the middle of third and to Ottumwa’s credit they were able to chip away at the lead,” explained Flattery.
With 6:42 left in the game, Breen had what he hoped was a whistle for an and-1 opportunity that ended up going the other way as a charge call, leaving the score 41-38 Fairfield after a 12-2 run in favor or the Bulldogs.
Waugh then made a back-door layup with 5:55 remaining to make it 43-38, but the scoring stayed slow with the Trojans calling for a time out at the 2:37 mark with a 45-42 advantage.
Fairfield’s offense sparked a bit with Simpson and Waugh helping the Trojans to a mini 6-2 run that kept their lead at 51-47 when Ottumwa finally hit a much-needed 3-pointer.
With :32 left, the Bulldogs made a lay up to cut the score to 51-49, but Breen hit two foul-shots with 19.7 and then Crile made a steal and secured the three-point win with a final point of his own.
Crile also had 20 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists; Austin Simpson 13 points, three rebounds and two assists; Collin Breen 10 points; Tristin Waugh seven points, four rebounds; Cole Engle two points, two rebounds; Drew Martin two points, three rebounds.
“I was proud of how our guys made plays at the end,” added Flattery. “Tristin had a big steal into a lay up and hit a big free-throw. Collin knocked down a couple of big shots. Really appreciate the support we got on the road from our parents, community and student body and we need it again plus more on Friday.”
The Trojans are now 2-1 overall and 1-0 in SEC play. Friday they will host conference-rival Washington.