Girls basketball: Freshmen lead Lakota West past Fairfield

WEST CHESTER TWP. — The Lakota West High School girls basketball team used a little bit of everyone on its youthful roster to put out red-hot Fairfield on Wednesday night.

Kathryn Fox scored a game-high 16 points, Sydney Williams came off the bench with 11, Caroline Bayliff bucketed nine and Lakota West halted the Indians’ four-game winning streak with a 52-41 victory.

Fox, Williams and Bayliff are three of the four freshmen who have seen action thus far for Lakota West, which moved to 1-1 (1-0 Greater Miami Conference) on the season.

“We’re so young, and the girls who are older, it’s a new experience for them, too — everyone,” Firebirds coach Andy Fishman said. “Everyone is in a new role. They’re playing together, and they’re coming along.

“It’s very exciting to me because I’ve been doing this for a long time, and it makes it feel like it’s the first game I’ve ever coached,” Fishman added. “That’s how excited I was about this win.”

Fairfield, which slipped to 4-1 (0-1 GMC), got off to its best start since the 2015-2016 season by winning its first four games.

“We prepared well for this,” said Fox, who tied freshman Jayda Neilson with a team-high seven rebounds. “Fairfield is a great team, but I just felt like we were more prepared overall.

“I thought that our teammates really worked together,” Fox added. “We were able to work the ball to get the best shot on the court. And I thought our defense at times may not have been the best, but we really got it together when we needed to.”

Lakota West’s 11-0 run in the first half separated things early. The Firebirds took an 18-11 advantage into the second quarter and control of the game from that point on.

“We had our fair share of shots,” first-year Fairfield coach Carl Woods said of his Indians, who fired up 13 more shots than Lakota West. “We just didn’t make them. We picked the wrong day to go cold.”

Lakota West held Myka Richardson to just six points on Wednesday. Richardson, a junior forward, came in averaging 15.5 points a contest.

Breyel Kidd scored a team-high nine points for the Indians, while Jasmine Opoku had eight points and a game-high nine rebounds. Kayla McCoy had six points.

“We just need to continue to learn how to execute better. That’s what we need to take out of this,” Woods said. “That was the key tonight. We needed to remain disciplined and make sure we’re doing our job out there. We just can’t try to do too much, and we have to execute. That was the dealbreaker.”

Fairfield only scored three points — free throws by Opoku — in the third quarter that saw Lakota West build a 42-26 lead.

The Firebirds, who shot 38.5% from the floor, mounted its largest lead in the fourth quarter at 52-35. The Indians shot just 30.8% from the field and 46.2% (6 of 13) from the line.

“Give credit to Fairfield,” Fishman said. “Their defense was so good and energetic. They’re so long and very well-coached. They took us out of some schemes that we wanted to do that we thought we’d do.

“They pressed us. And we love getting pressed,” Fishman added. “We do well under the pressure. It’s what you do after you get the ball up court. And that’s what I was proud of most. Because we pivoted with poise. We moved the basketball, and we fed the bear.”

Lakota West suffered a 50-44 season-opening defeat to West Carrollton on Sunday, but Fishman said he was pleased with the way his squad bounced back.

“I’m incredibly proud of our girls,” Fishman said. “We came out a little flat in our opener, and they’ve been working so hard to correct some things. We did what we were supposed to do tonight, and that’s execute with poise.”


Lakota West travels to Oak Hills on Friday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m., while Fairfield hosts Lakota East on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 1:45 p.m.

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