Wildcats falter in second half

Once the Fountain-Fort Carson High School girls basketball team found its shooting touch, it started rolling.

Using a combination of outside shooting and pressure defense in the second half Thursday night, the Trojans pulled away from Fruita Monument for a 49-42 win at the Wildcat Invitational.

The Trojans outscored the Wildcats 34-21 in the second half.

“The thing we haven’t done well this year is play 32 minutes,” Fruita coach Michael Wells said. “Playing one half isn’t going to get the job done.”

Behind seven points from point guard Mariah Love, the Wildcats had a fairly tight grip on the game during the first half and took a 21-15 lead into the third quarter. But three missed shots and three turnovers to start the quarter gave the momentum to Fountain-Fort Carson.

After an atrocious first half of outside shooting, the Trojans came out hot in the third, hitting their first two shots to cut the lead to 21-19.

Taylor Eatwell hit a layup off a nice feed from Love to put the Wildcats up 23-19. But a 3-pointer by Amber Perryman and a baseline drive by Amari Rhodes gave the Trojans their first lead since 3-2.

The spurt by Fountain-Fort Carson didn’t rattle the Wildcats. A three-point play from Kassidy Fair, a nifty driving scoop shot from Love and a short jumper by Sonya Lopez reclaimed the momentum for Fruita as it took a 30-25 lead.

Another 3-pointer from Rhodes, though, tied the score at 30-30.

Then the size of Wildcats forward Vanessa Herrera started giving the Trojans trouble inside. The 5-11 senior lead the Wildcats in scoring with 12 points, all coming in the second half. She scored six straight points to give Fruita a 40-39 lead with three minutes remaining.

It was the last lead of the game for the Wildcats.

With 15 of their 25 turnovers coming in the second half, the Wildcats missed a number of opportunities to extend their lead.

“I really felt like most of those (turnovers) were self-inflicted instead of them doing it to us,” Wells said.

Two free throws by Rhodes put the Trojans up 44-40, but the free-throw line wasn’t charitable to Fountain-Fort Carson.

Having to foul down the stretch, the Wildcats sent five different Trojans to the foul line, and they hit a mere five of 16 shots during that stretch. But the Wildcats couldn’t take advantage and went scoreless until Herrera hit a last-second shot to end the game.

Fountain-Fort Carson finished 12 of 36 from the line.

“We just didn’t take care of the ball in stretches,” Wells said. “We have stretches when we execute really well, and we have stretches where we don’t.”

The Wildcats are now 1-4 and have lost four straight.

Wells, who took over the team shortly before the season started, said he would like to get the team more time on the practice floor to work on his system.

“We’re in a stretch of 10 games in 19 days, and we really need more practice time,” he said.

Love and Eatwell each had nine points for the Wildcats.


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