The success for Fairfield Union's girls, as is expected to be the case all season, starts with defense.
The Falcons used a 24-4 first-half run to open a big lead behind turnovers and fast-break layups to beat visiting Bloom-Carroll 62-20 in a Mid-State League-Buckeye Division game Friday.
"We are very defense-oriented," Fairfield Union coach Steve Clippinger said. "We talk about it all the time. We love to score, don't get me wrong, but (defense) is what wins championships."
Early baskets by Katie Silvia and Ashlee Ireland had the Bulldogs (1-4, 0-2) tied with the Falcons (3-0, 2-0) midway through the first quarter at 7-7. Bloom-Carroll avoided turnovers in the early part of the game. But as that trend overturned, Fairfield Union took advantage.
The Falcons closed the first with a 12-2 spurt, and allowed only four points in the second while pressuring the Bulldogs all the way up the court. Fairfield Union repeatedly stole the ball, whether grabbing the ball from a rebounder or sticking out a hand on a pass. Kyleigh Wyeth had three assists to go with her eight points, and Anna Voris had 11 in the first half to help the Falcons take a 31-11 halftime lead.
"We're in pursuit of a perfect game," Clippinger said. "We're still on that quest. We kind of coach against the game itself."
Bloom-Carroll coach Chad Little said hanging with teams such as Fairfield Union will be difficult, especially with the absence of junior Morgan Watts, who is injured. The Bulldogs are short on varsity experience, and the driving point going forward will be trying to do little things well.
"We're in the first quarter, we know we're going to get pressured, and it's going to kill us eventually," Little said. "It's just pressure, pressure, pressure. We don't have the kids to handle pressure yet."
The Falcons did not allow a point in the third, as the Bulldogs had only six shot attempts because of turnovers. Every player that checked in scored for Fairfield Union, who opened up a commanding 50-11 lead after three.
Voris finished with a game-high 16 points. Alexis Woodside had 13, and Courtney Hanna and Wyeth each had eight. Wyeth also had five rebounds and five assists in only three quarters, as the Falcons' starters sat in the fourth. Ireland had a team-high six points for Bloom-Carroll.
Little said any silver lining or looking for positives starts with little steps. It takes patience to remain positive from the coaches and players as the Bulldogs look to build on their young team.
"It takes time," Little said. "It's just trying to look at little things."