Simpson carries Trojans

Fairfield junior equals Washington's score

Delaney Breen (with ball) finds her way through traffic for Fairfield Friday in a 56-23 win over Washington. (Doug Brenneman/Union)
Delaney Breen (with ball) finds her way through traffic for Fairfield Friday in a 56-23 win over Washington. (Doug Brenneman/Union)

WASHINGTON — Although basketball is a team game, one player can dominate. Friday that domination came from an unlikely source for the Fairfield girls basketball team in a 56-23 Southeast Conference win over the Demons.

Players improve through a season and from year to year, but Fairfield saw a tremendous amount of improvement from Hannah Simpson. Simpson scored 82 points total for Fairfield last year in her sophomore campaign, which is an average of 3.9 points a game. This season, she has a total of 16 points in three games, an average of 5.3 a game.

In her fourth game Friday, her point total equaled Washington’s and was 28 percent of her total points last year.

Simpson had a Samson-like game, totaling 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the field. She missed more free throws than she missed field goals, going 3-for-7 at the line. Simpson also had 13 rebounds, six of them on the offensive end.

“We thought we had an advantage inside, then she made a couple shots early and that gave her some confidence,” Fairfield head coach Pat Pacha said. “So then we started feeding her.”

She certainly was hungry.

“Hannah has some moves and good footwork for a big body and she knows how to maneuver her way around the basket,” Pacha said. “Washington’s zone was effective against us early.”

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Simpson said. “Without them passing me the ball, it wasn’t going happen. Ball screens were the only way I was going to get open and I was posting up. When you have your team looking at you, it’s a good thing.”

Simpson notched four points in the first quarter as Fairfield took a 17-8 lead. She scored the first six points of the second quarter while Washington got a free throw from Kaylin Long.

Simpson scored nine points in the second quarter as the Trojans led 30-11 at halftime. She added six more points in the third, four points in the final stanza.

“I’m surprised they never double teamed me,” Simpson said. “We had a little two-man game going on and that pick and roll worked pretty good.”

Mallory Lyon went for 10 points and Anna Dunlap seven. Lyon added eight rebounds, seven offensive and Kelsey Pacha had six rebounds. Olivia Jones had five assists and just two turnovers.

Fairfield got two starters back from having Covid and one was Jones.

“(Jones) is a good passer,” Simpson said. “Our team likes to share the ball so we usually get a lot of people with eight, 10, 12 points but we had a mismatch going on so we had to take advantage of it.”

Washington wore pink jerseys as past of Cancer Awareness Night. The Demons have improved from the previous meeting where they trailed 19-3 at Fairfield and 33-5 at halftime.

“The girls played hard and they work hard in practice,” Washington head coach Shannon Rugg said. “The game was a lot different from it was at their place (53-22 Fairfield win). The score may look the same but I know we’re not the same. Fairfield’s got a good team and they knew to go to what was working.”

Fairfield is 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the Southeast Conference with both of those wins against Washington. The Demons fall to 1-9. Fairfield hosts PCM of Monroe tonight. Monroe is 1-11. Washington travels to Burlington tonight to play Notre Dame, ranked 13th in Class 1A.