FORT MADISON — The Bloodhounds had beaten the Fairfield girls basketball team twice already this season, but the Trojans weren’t going to let it happen again with their season on the line. Fairfield marched into Fort Madison and beat the Hounds on their own court, winning 43-29 to advance to the regional finals, just one win away from a trip to the state tournament.
“It’s an unbelievable, sweet kind of feeling,” said junior guard Delaney Breen. “We came in here thinking, ‘what do we have to lose.’”
The two teams scrapped and clawed in a defense-dominated first half. Fort Madison led 14-12 after one quarter, but Fairfield held a 19-16 advantage at halftime, thanks in part to a pair of Delaney Breen 3-pointers. When the teams returned from the locker rooms, it was all Trojans.
Fort Madison’s defense shut out Fairfield leading scorer Danielle Breen in the first half, but she returned from the break with a vengeance, scoring six points to help the Trojans stretch the lead to 3-20 after three quarters. She added a quick three points in the fourth quarter, and Fort Madison could never recover.
“It feels more than sweet,” said an exhilarated Danielle Breen. “We’ve lost so many games this year that we think we should have won. Now that we’re in the tournament, this is when it matters.”
Delaney Breen finished with 10 points to lead the Trojans. Danielle Breen had nine points and six assists. Hannah Simpson finished with nine points and eight rebounds. Olivia Jones scored six points, four of which came in the first quarter. Mallory Lyon had three points and eight rebounds. Anna Dunlap scored three points. Kelsey Pacha scored two, and Anna Westphal finished with one.
The Trojans are now the only girls basketball team left standing out of the Southeast Conference. Keokuk was vanquished 64-34 by top-seeded North Scott, the team the Trojans will take on in the Class 4A Region 4 final on Tuesday night in Eldridge. The winners, of course, will celebrate with a state-qualifying banner.
“We do goal sheets on the first day of practice, and every single one of us said ‘go to state,’” said Simpson. “We’re going to go up (to North Scott) and do some damage.”
Tuesday night’s game at North Scott has a 7 p.m. start time.