No. 5 Pioneers Manhandle Sigourney, 58-29
By CHAD DRURY
FAIRFIELD Rowdy crowds, acrobatic basketball and a 26-0 run. All of it added up to the Fairfield Maharishi boys’ Class 2A district opener with Sigourney Monday evening.
The fifth-ranked Pioneers scored the first 26 points of the game, and cruised into the district semifinals with an eventual 58-29 win over the Savages.
Were not used to playing teams the caliber of Fairfield Maharishi, said Sigourney coach Scott Johnson. We just couldnt hit a shot to start the game.
Or get a shot, that is. The Pioneers defense created numerous turnovers which led to dazzling passing on fast breaks. The Savages got off just nine shots in the first quarter, after which they trailed 21-0. It looked more like a Sigourney-Keota football game instead of a basketball game. The Pioneers Zach Silverman scored nine of his teams 21 first-quarter points, while the team shot 8-of-16 from the floor. Silverman went over 1,000 points in his career later in the game.
Our game plan was to put pressure on the ball, said Fairfield Maharishi coach Harley Carter. The defense created the atmosphere, and I was pleased that Sigourney didnt get any uncontested shots.
The second quarter had the same feel, with the Pioneers upping their lead to 26-0 as David Dannemann scored four of his teams first five points of the period.
The Savages ended an 11-minute drought and dented the scoreboard when Pat Flynn drilled a 3-pointer, but Ben Stone quickly answered for the Pioneers with a bucket. When the dust settled on the first half, the Pioneers led 40-9, with Flynn scoring five of the nine Savage points.
Carter began pulling his starters just before halftime. Its hard to analyze a game like this, Carter said. The good thing is that everyone got to play.
With most of Carters subs in the contest for the second half, Sigourney improved on its 4-of-24 shooting in the first half. The Pioneers were rusty handling the ball, and with three minutes left in the third quarter, Casey Thompson broke a personal 0-for-6 shooting slump to put the Savages over 10 points. However, the Pioneers outscored their guests 13-4 and led 53-13 after three quarters.
Sigourney went on a 7-0 run in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter to make it 53-20. The teams exchanged baskets for the rest of the game with the Pioneers doubling up the visitors.
Johnson, even though his team shot just 12-for-45 for the game (27 percent), was pleased with the way his team responded in the second half. We kind of showed the way we were capable of playing, said Johnson, whose team finished the season 1-15. To even compete, we had to play to the best of our ability. I was proud of the effort and the kids played with a lot of heart.
Johnson gave credit to the Pioneers defense, which was stingy. Their defense is really good, he said. We just had to get settled into our game and playing better.
Carter said he wasnt interested in running up the score on the Savages, but he wanted to give his players some rest heading into the Wednesdays contest.
The Pioneers (21-1), who ran their winning streak to 16 in a row, will play Williamsburg (12-10) in a district semifinal Wednesday at Fairfield High School. Williamsburg was a 71-67 winner over Eddyville-Blakesburg in their first round contest.
I hope we can make this a hometown advantage, and everyone can come out, Carter said about the possibility of the next two games in Fairfield. This (homecourt advantage) is something that comes along once every 10 years, so we need to take advantage of it.
Silverman was the games high scorer with 21 points, 17 in the first half. He also finished with seven rebounds to tie Stone for the team lead. Stone, fighting the flu, scored only seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. Danny Duszynski added nine points and three assists, and Michael Hauptman added four steals.
We kind of control our own destiny, Carter said. Weve played 22 games, and thats a lot of games, but were pretty healthy and should be ready to go Wednesday.We just keep taking one game at a time.
FAIRFIELD MAHARISHI (58)
Fouls: Sigourney 16, Maharishi 10. Fouled out: none. 3-point goals: Meier, Flynn, Knowler, Duszynski, Mullenneaux, Silverman. Records: Maharishi 21-1, Sigourney 1-15