FLANAGAN — The Flanagan-Cornell Lady Falcons won the battle Thursday night at their own season-opening Stone Seed Classic.
The Fieldcrest Lady Knights, however, won the war.
After a pair of disappointing outings to open the season, Flanagan-Cornell's girls put together a great effort here Thursday to convincingly knock off previously-unbeaten Fieldcrest by a final score of 50-35. The win gives the Lady Falcons (1-2) their first win of the young season.
In spite of the loss, though, Fieldcrest (2-1) took home the Stone Seed championship via a head-to-head tiebreak win over Serena (2-1). It is believed to be the first varsity tournament championship in Fieldcrest girls basketball history.
"We are happy, but we aren't," Fieldcrest coach Mitch Neally said. "We're pleased we came here and won this thing, but in the same sense to end the week on a note like this leaves a bad taste in our mouth. But we'll learn from this.
"We just came out cold, and I told the girls, 'Every time (Flanagan-Cornell, which knocked Fieldcrest out of the 2A regionals last postseason after losing to the Lady Knights three times in the regular season) plays us, they're going to play hard,' and they were due to come out hot.
"They did ... but the heart and the toughness we showed never giving up at the end of the night is what we're going to hang our hat on."
Fieldcrest never really went away but never truly threatened the Lady Falcons' lead after a pair of 8-0 Flanagan-Cornell runs — highlighted by 3-point makes courtesy of Regan Reed, Jadyn Mitchell and two from Heather Battice — spanning the late-first/mid-second quarters. F-C led 11-4 at the close of one quarter, 25-15 at halftime and 33-19 heading into the fourth.
Though the Lady Knights turned up the pressure and at one point scored seven points over a four-second span — an Addison Goodrich 3-pointer and free throws from Samantha Vazquez and Madeline Hook combining with two F-C backcourt turnovers — while the Lady Falcons took their talons off the proverbial gas pedal, the closest Fieldcrest could draw was 11 points, at 40-29 with 2:45 remaining.
Elise Kane with 4-of-6 free-throw shooting in the fourth, Roth with a bucket and a 2-of-2 showing from the charity stripe and Mitchell with nine of her game-best 15 points in the final quarter allowed Flanagan-Cornell to maintain a comfortable cushion and score its first, much-needed win despite 10 fourth-quarter turnovers.
"Above the win, which was nice, the big thing was we played like we're capable of playing," said Lady Falcons coach Ron Spencer. "The first two games were absolutely pathetic, but we watched film last night and the girls saw how bad and lethargic and slow we were. Had we even lost this game tonight, had we played like we did I would have still been satisfied.
"Getting the win and holding on, even if it was ugly at the end, I'm very proud of our kids, and I hope they see (the difference) when they work. We're not a team that's going to win on style. ... We have to work every possession, and when we do that good things happen."
Behind Mitchell's 15, Roth combined 13 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Falcons, with Kane contributing 11 points, five assists and eight rebounds. Battice added six points, Reed five points and Emily Friese five rebounds.
Goodrich and Hock scored eight points apiece to lead Fieldcrest. Vazquez added six points, with Zada Baker scoring five and pulling down seven rebounds.
Both Fieldcrest's Goodrich and Flanagan-Cornell's Mitchell were named to the all-tournament team.
Flanagan-Cornell 50, Fieldcrest 35
(Key: FG FT-FTA TP)
FIELDCREST (35) — White 1 2-3 4, Carls 0 0-1 0, Hock 2 4-5 8, H. Baker 0 3-4 3, Goodrich 3 0-1 8, Vazquez 2 2-2 6, Park 0 1-3 1, Z. Baker 2 1-2 5, Carver 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 13-21 35.
FLANAGAN-C. (50) — Kane 1 9-12 11, Reed 2 0-0 5, Mitchell 3 8-10 15, Roth 5 2-2 13, VanWeelden 0 0-0 0, Friese 0 0-0 0, Battice 2 0-0 6, Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 19-24 50.
Fieldcrest (2-1) 4 11 4 16 — 35
Flanagan-C. (1-2) 11 14 8 17 — 50
3-point goals - Fieldcrest 2 (Goodrich 2); F-C 5 (Battice 2, Reed 1, Mitchell 1, Roth 1). Rebounds - Fieldcrest 26 (Z. Baker 7, Hock 5); F-C 32 (Kane 8, Roth 8, Friese 5). Assists - Fieldcrest 5 (Carver 2); F-C 9 (Kane 5). Steals - Fieldcrest 11 (Carls 2, H. Baker 2, Park 2, Z. Baker 2); F-C 4 (four players with 1). Blocked shots - Fieldcrest 2 (Goodrich 1, Vazquez 1); F-C 1 (Friese 1). Turnovers - Fieldcrest 13; F-C 23. Total fouls (fouled out) - Fieldcrest 20 (none); F-C 20 (VanWeelden). Techincal fouls — White, Fieldcrest bench.