Mason's Briana Glover (14) and Kayla McDowell (15) cry on the bench after losing to Fairmont in the 4th period. Mason High School battled Fairmont High School in a Division I regional final basketball game at Wright State University on Saturday, March 10, 2012 in Dayton, Ohio. The Enquirer/ Joseph Fuqua II
Mark Schmetzer reports:
Mason couldn’t have picked a worse time to struggle with its shooting.
The Comets went the entire second quarter and most of the third without sinking a field goal, giving Kettering Fairmont a chance to build a lead the Firebirds held on to for a 49-40 win in the Division I girls regional championship game at Wright State.
Senior Bri Glover scored 16 points to lead Mason (18-7), which was ranked third in the Enquirer’s Division I coaches poll and was making its first appearance in the regional finals since winning the 2000 state championship.
The Comets scored 22 points on field goals while shooting 27 percent (10-of-37) from the field. They were 18-of-22 on free throws, led by Glover’s 11-of-12. The Firebirds shot 45.7 percent (16-of-35).
Mason Briana Glover (14) drives to the basket against Fairmont Makayla Waterman (24) in the 4th period. The Enquirer/ Joseph Fuqua II
Mason coach Rob Matula pointed out that the Firebirds exploited Mason’s lack of an outside shooting game.
“They do a good job defensively of cutting off the lanes and contesting shots,” Matula said. “That’s what they do well. If you look at our stats, we don’t shoot many (3-pointers), and we don’t have many 3-point shooters, and when a defense is successful in making us shoot from the outside, we’re going to struggle.”
Sophomores Makayla Waterman (17 points) and Kathryn Westbeld (13) led Fairmont (23-3), the No.10 team in the Associated Press state poll.
The Firebirds will make their third consecutive trip to state. They lost last season in the championship game and in the semifinals in 2010.
The Comets went 3-of-18 from the field in the first half, including 0-for-8 in the second quarter, when they managed just two free throws by junior Kayla McDowell while falling behind, 20-14, by halftime.
“We talked about being more aggressive on our drives,” Matula said. “We wanted to spread it and curl under, but we couldn’t get the angles. We needed to score over the top of them.”
The slump reached 17:20, allowing Fairmont to open up a 13-point lead, 31-18, before McDowell connected on a wide-open layup with 1:13 left in the third quarter.
The Comets got no closer than six.
Mason rode an eight-game winning streak into the regional championship game.
“If somebody had told me we’d get to the regional finals, I would’ve said, ‘I’ll take it,’” Matula said. “Give them credit. They’ve got the experience from having been here before. We’re still taking baby steps to get there.”
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