Prep girls basketball: Defense sets the tone as Mason batters Indians

FAIRFIELD — Mason High School girls basketball coach Rob Matula admits his Comets are not always pretty to watch on the offensive end.

The veteran coach hangs his hat on the defense, and the Fairfield Indians got an up-close-and-personal look Saturday afternoon in a 53-30 loss at the Fairfield Arena.

The Comets held the Indians to 12-of-46 shooting, including 0-of-14 from beyond the arc, and twice held Fairfield to six-minute scoring droughts to grab what Matula called a key Greater Miami Conference road win.

“We are never going to be a thing of beauty offensively because we work so hard defensively,” Matula said. “That’s what we have been harping for years. Sometimes our shots are not going to go in, but we can dig down and play defense. I thought we did a good job defensively.”

Senior Sammie Puisis returned from injury to pour in a game-high 22 points in only three quarters of work as the Comets built a 40-18 lead after three stanzas.

The Florida State University signee added five rebounds, four steals and three assists as she works herself back into game shape.

“That’s the type of player she is,” Matula said. “We have to keep watching her with her back and make sure she stays healthy and gets her treatment.”

Count Fairfield coach David Loper as one who wished Puisis had missed one more game.

“She is a great player, and we have to figure out how to stop that,” Loper said. “She scored outside and posted up inside today, and honestly we were hoping she wouldn’t.”

Loper said his squad came out uncharacteristically flat, and the Comets were more than happy to take advantage.

Mason stormed to a 12-3 lead after one quarter and built a 25-12 lead at the half as the Tribe shot 4-of-18.

“We came out flat, but their size and their length is effective,” Loper said. “They are a good team. We didn’t box out well, we didn’t do the fundamentals well, and we lost confidence in our shot.”

Fairfield trailed 20-12 late in the first half, but saw the Comets rattle off the last five of the half, including a buzzer beater from Puisis.

Puisis then opened the second half with seven quick points as Mason built a 32-12 lead that grew to as much as 28 (51-23) in the final quarter.

“That start was not good. That really hurt,” Loper said. “When you come out of halftime, you have to be ready to take it to them. We haveto be more aggressive. We were just flat. The girls think they are a good basketball team. We coaches think we are a good basketball team, but you have to prove it. It is one thing to think it, another to prove it, and we have to work on that.”

Mason (6-1 overall, 4-1 GMC) shot 11-of-19 in the second half and forced 21 Fairfield turnovers.

Megan Wagner had a solid game for the Comets, scoring nine points with three assists, while Beth Moser added eight points and six boards.

Zahrya Bailey led the Indians (5-2, 3-2) with seven points and seven caroms.

Mason travels to Fairmont on Monday, while Fairfield visits Oak Hills on Saturday.

Mason 12-13-15-13—53

Fairfield 3-9-6-12—30

MASON (6-1, 4-1 GMC): Riley Cosimi 0 2 2; Alanna Carter 2 2 6; Megan Wagner 3 3 9; Catherine Cary 2 0 4; Sammie Puisis 8 4 22; Marilyn Popplewell 1 0 2; Beth Moser 4 0 8. Totals: 20-11-53

FAIRFIELD (5-2, 3-2 GMC): Shaniyah Reese 2 0 4; Zahrya Bailey 2 3 7; Abby Halsey 1 0 2; Karlee Mills 2 2 6; Addie Kidd 1 0 2; Journee Hicks 1 0 4; Kayla Summerville 1 0 3; Maddie Schaeffer 2 0 4. Totals: 12-6-30

3-pointers: M 2 (Puisis 2)

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