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PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Delta's defense halts Fairfield's postseason run in 54-45 semistate loss

Mar. 16—LOGANSPORT — Only leading once in the first quarter, Fairfield's postseason venture came to a close when it fell short to Delta, 54-45 at Logansport High School in the IHSAA 3A north semistate showdown.

The Falcons (20-7) stayed nearby for three quarters of action at the Berry Bowl, but they couldn't get the offense functioning in full. Turnovers, of which Fairfield committed 16, kept the Falcons trailing and when it came time to get desperate, the Eagles (23-6) piled on.

"If you're gonna have to beat a very good team, you have to pay attention to details and we didn't today," Fairfield head coach Derek Hinen. "There are just things here and there and we weren't as locked in as we needed to be.

"There's not a lot of margin for error when you're playing a good team," Hinen said. "They caused some havoc with their lengths and their strength; I think it was a combination of both those things. You can't turn over the ball that much expecting to win."

Seniors Carson Smith led the team with 12 points while Mitchell Miller and Tyson Frey scored 10.

Outdoing all was Delta senior D'Amare Hood who scored 26 points, 16 in the final quarter.

Fairfield grabbed a 3-2 lead after Miller connected on a 3-pointer two minutes into the contest. Delta countered with a 7-0 run before Brandt Garber sunk a triple and converted a layup to put Fairfield behind 9-8 towards the end of the opening quarter.

The Eagles 2-3 zone defense clogged entry passes and took away Fairfield's offensive flare. Delta sat 10th in the state in scoring defense while the Falcons were 11th entering Saturday's noon tipoff.

Shooting 7-of-14 in the first half, Fairfield trailed 21-18 at the half with the Falcons also shooting 3-of-6 from behind the arc.

"They're just a really good defensive team," Hinen said. "To be top 10 in the state, it's going to be tough to get some shots up. They took away the 3's they took away the layups, they took away the high post... it's hats off to them to sticking to the game plan."

Still hanging tough and controlling the glass, Fairfield drew within one in the first minute of the second half, down 21-20.

Once Delta took a 24-22 lead, the Eagles jumped out to a run highlighted by Hood's first points since the opening quarter.

Fairfield's man defense followed the Eagles around and limited possessions, but the Falcons couldn't score themselves on the other end, often losing the ball trying to crack through Delta's defense.

"In the beginning it wasn't that bad in the first half but we just didn't do a very good job of locking in," Hinen said. "If you get lost a couple times that's the difference in the game."

Delta's lead held strong as Fairfield's full-court defense tried to turn over the Eagles. It didn't make a difference in the end, sending the Falcons out in Saturday's semis.

"They stayed consistent, that's who they are," Hinen said of Delta. "They didn't flinch or waver from what they usually do."

For Hinen, it ended the team's magical 2023-24 season which brought the Falcons the Northeast Corner Conference Tournament title alongside sectional and regional titles. Saturday's semistate contest was the first for Fairfield since 2007.

Not fully having time to think of what this season does for Fairfield's boys basketball future, Hinen did reflect on his six seniors who he helped mold during his three year's as head coach.

"Obviously, with this being my first head coaching job this kind of feels like my group," Hinen said. "When I came in, they were just sophomores playing JV for the most part. Tons of pride for those graduating and being able to put together a pretty historical season at Fairfield. Those guys should be pretty proud."

Fairfield shot 15-of-32 from the floor opposed to Delta's 23-of-38 showing. The Falcons were led by Miller, Smith and Frey trailed in scoring by Garber (5 points), Brooks Custer (4), Noah Mast (2), Elijah Miller (2). Fairfield outrebounded Delta 24-10.

Miller, Smith, Frey, Mast, Alex Hofer and Ezekial Yoder will all depart as the Falcons six seniors this season.

South Bend St. Joseph beat Peru 88-80 to advance to the championship game.

In the finale, St. Joe beat Delta 44-41 in a game that went to triple overtime.

PREP BOYS BASKETBALL

IHSAA 3A North Semistate

Delta — 11; 10; 10; 23 — 54

Fairfield — 9; 9; 8; 19 — 45

Reach Matt Lucas at 574-533-2151, ext. 240325, or at matt.lucas@goshennews.com.