GOSHEN — Tenacity.
That’s what girls basketball teams from Fairfield and Goshen brought to the court Saturday night.
The Falcons and RedHawks spent the night diving for balls, taking charges and tying up for jump-ball calls.
Goshen (3-0) made three 3-pointers in the last two minutes — including a decisive one from junior Megan Gallagher on the left wing with 28 seconds to go — to earn a 39-38 come-from behind victory.
“The play was not for me,” said Gallagher, who finished with a game-high 12 points. “I actually just cut and got open. (Coach Shaun Hill) said to spot up (in the motion offense).
“I didn’t really think about it, I just shot it.”
What about the late comeback?
“Our team, we never give up,” said Gallagher. “Were very tenacious, especially on defense.
“We definitely get better every game. Fairfield was the best opponent we’ve played so far.”
Hill gave his appraisal of the physical, emotional contest.
“That’s a well-coached Fairfield team,” said Hill. “I’ve always had trouble preparing for them because they play so well defensively, too.
They limit (second chances) and they scrap.”
If Hill hears about floor burns, it won’t come as a surprise to him.
“That’s how we drill to try to preserve possessions,” said Hill. “We get on loose balls. We get a lot of deflections. We’re active with our hands. Sometimes that works against us because we get a lot of foul calls because of it. We just keep doing what we’re doing. Our defense helped us down the stretch.”
Fairfield (2-1) used a 9-0 run to take a 33-24 lead into the fourth quarter and was up 37-28 on a layup by senior Kara Kitson with 3:12 to play. Kinston’s 10 points on the night led the Falcons.
Two free throws by Gallagher at 2:06 cut the gap to 37-30. Senior Regan Mast dropped in a 3-pointer at 1:52 to make it 37-33. Senior Hailey Mast’s 3 at 1:13 pulled Goshen within 37-36.
After a free throw by freshman Bailey Willard gave Fairfield a 38-36 advantage with 58.9 ticks remaining, Gallagher hit what ended up being the game-winner.
In the final 18 seconds, Fairfield missed a pair of shots, Gallagher came away with a rebound. She was fouled, missed her free throw and Falcon freshman Brea Garber pulled down the rebound, but Fairfield never got the ball up the court as Goshen forced a turnover just before time expired.
Falcons coach Brodie Garber was expecting a fierce game from teams with such similar playing styles.
“Does it get chippy at times? Probably,” said Garber. “But in the end both schools respect each other. Both teams want to beat each other to the best of their ability.
“I know we were on the losing side of it. But long-term, that game’s going to do a lot for us.”
Freshmen Brea Garber (the coach’s daughter) and Willard and sophomore Brooke Sanchez (8 points) saw considerable playing time for the Falcons in the second half.
“They handled themselves very well,” said coach Garber. “That’s why we like playing Goshen before our (Northeast Corner Conference) season with that physicality and (Northern Lakes Conference)-type of play.
That defensively prepares for what’s upcoming.”
Fairfield led 24-22 at halftime.
The Falcons were up 20-16 and 22-18 when Goshen pulled even a 22-22 thanks to a pair of free throws and basket by sophomore Tori Eldridge.
At the end of the half, Willard was fouled attempting a 3-point shot and made two of three shots before each team went to the locker room.
Fairfield was up 17-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Sanchez scored eight points and Kitson five in the opening period for the visitors while Hailey Mast tallied six.
The game’s first three baskets were 3-pointers — Goshen’s Gallagher, Fairfield’s Kitson and Goshen’s Hailey Mast (on her way to a 9-point night).
In the junior varsity game, Goshen bested Fairfield 49-19. Tyra Marcum (10 points), Breanna Cline (8) and Brooklynn Collins (8) led the attack for the JV RedHawks (2-1). Morgan Gawthrop (6) and Riley Yoder (5) paced the JV Falcons (1-2).
Goshen 39, Fairfield 38
Fairfield — Chloe Dell 1-4 0-0 2, Kara Kitson 4-8 0-0 10, Brooke Sanchez 3-7 0-1 8, Riley Miller 1-3 1-2 4, Brea Garber 2-3 2-2 6, Bailey Willard 1-3 4-7 6, Mackayla Stutsman 1-3 0-0 2, Laney Faldoe 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Gawthrop 0-0 0-0 0. Team: 13-31 7-12 38.
Goshen — Tori Eldridge 1-3 2-2 4, Brynn Shoup-Hill 2-5 1-1 5, Regan Mast 1-3 0-1 3, Megan Gallagher 3-6 4-5 12, Hailey Mast 3-6 0-0 9, Lizzy Kirkton 3-6 0-0 6. Team: 13-29 7-9 39.
Fairfield 17 7 9 5 — 38
Goshen 12 10 2 15 — 39
3-point goals: Fairfield (5-14) — Kitson 2-5, Sanchez 2-5, Miller 1-2, Dell 0-1, Stutsman 0-1; Goshen (6-13) — H. Mast 3-6, Gallagher 2-2, R. Mast 1-2, Eldridge 0-1, Shoup-Hill 0-2. Fouls (fouled out): Fairfield 16 (none); Goshen 13 (none). Technicals: Goshen — R. Mast. Rebounds: Fairfield 22 (Garber 6); Goshen 17 (Shoup-Hill 9, Gallagher 4). Turnovers: Fairfield 14, Goshen 10.
Officials: Dave Spencer, Amanda Bender, Andy Kern.
Records (next games): Goshen (3-0) at Marian Tuesday, Nov. 19; Churubusco at Fairfield (2-1) Thursday, Nov. 21.
JV score: Goshen won 49-19. Goshen: Tyra Marcum 10, Breanna Cline 8, Brooklynn Collins 8, Maddie Garber 5, Briana Valderrama 5. Fairfield: Morgan Gawthrop 6, Riley Yoder 5.