Fatima uses its speed to turn back Helias

Fatima’s Katie Eichholz (10) tries to dump off a pass while being guarded by Helias’ Baylee Francka during Thursday’s game in Westphalia.

Fatima’s Katie Eichholz (10) tries to dump off a pass while being guarded by Helias’ Baylee Francka during Thursday’s game in Westphalia. Photo by News Tribune.

WESTPHALIA —The Fatima Lady Comets had a plan.

Heading into Thursday night’s game against Helias, the Lady Comets wanted to dictate the speed of the contest. They did that and defeated the Lady Crusaders 53-38.

“We needed to get them playing fast and playing at our pace,” Fatima coach Dustin Hays said. “We needed to play with intensity and we were all over the floor. We fed off each other.”

That intensity made a big difference in the game.

“Fatima got to every 50-50 ball, their players were all over the floor and we were caught watching,” Helias coach Doug Light said. “And when you do that against a good team, it will cost you, and Fatima is a very good team.”

In the first possession of the game, Kate Massman picked up a pair of offensive rebounds to keep the Lady Comets on their end of the floor before Leah Kesel drilled a 3-pointer. That keyed a 9-2 start for Fatima, which included back-to-back jumpers by Annie Bock from near the free-throw line.

“That got her confidence going and that was big for us,” Hays said. “She used her speed to get those shots.”

Trailing 19-11 after one quarter, a 3-pointer by Molly Light cut Helias’ deficit to 21-16 with 6:30 remaining in the first half. But Fatima held Helias scoreless the remainder of the quarter and took a 33-16 advantage into intermission.

The Lady Crusaders only turned the ball over twice in the quarter, but were 2-of-15 from the field.

“We had trouble getting into our offense, we were back on our heels,” Light said. “I’m not going to make any excuses, Fatima just played really, really well.”

Bock had five of Fatima’s 11 points in the third quarter as the Lady Comets stretched their advantage to 44-24 with one period remaining. The closest Helias would get in the fourth quarter was 13 points.

Morgan Brandt finished with a double-double for Fatima, totaling 19 points and 10 rebounds.

“That’s an every-night line for her,” Hays said. “She fills up the stat line, she has that kind of ability. It’s not just her points, but the rebounds and steals and assists.

“She’s our motor. How she goes is how we go a lot of the time.”

Bock added 13 points for Fatima (2-1), which is back in action Monday at School of the Osage.

It was Fatima’s first win against Helias in several years.

“It’s a pride thing,” Hays said. “We used ‘little’ Fatima facing ‘big’ Helias for motivation. Helias had beaten us in the three years I’ve been here and you don’t want to keep losing to the same team over and over, I don’t care how big the school is. Our girls came out ready to end that streak.”

Meghan Nappier finished with 11 points for Helias.

“She was a spark-plug for us and did a nice job,” Light said.

Darcy Baird also had 11 for the Lady Crusaders (2-1), who will host Battle on Monday.

“We’re going to get better from this,” Light said. “Games like this will help you down the road.”

In Thursday night’s junior varsity game, Helias was a 40-13 winner against Fatima. Emma Wyrick had nine points to pace Helias (3-0).

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