ANGOLA — Brandon Appleton shouted from the sidelines, pleading for his team to pick up its energy and focus during the first quarter of Tuesday’s basketball game. His team had jumped out to a quick lead over Fairfield, but then watched the Falcons tie the score at five.
Calls for his team to move the ball around faster and be quicker to rotate on defense were among the instruction given.
After an ensuing timeout, his team answered the call.
Angola (7-2) scored the next seven points unanswered, and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way, en route to a 54-38 win.
Junior guard Hanna Knoll sparked the Hornets’ surge with a driving layup, followed by a free throw, while Kayla Fenstermaker scored four points in less than 10 seconds of game time, snagging a quick steal and a layup on back-to-back possessions.
Knoll led all scorers with 15 points, while Fenstermaker added 14, two of three Angola players to score in double figures — joined by sophomore forward Lauren Leach, who netted 13.
Angola led by 10 at the half, and by as many as 17 late in the fourth quarter after Janna Fee converted her second three of the night, 50-33. In between those points, the Hornets’ defense took over.
Angola forced nearly half of Fairfield’s turnovers (7-of-16) in the second half, spurred by the perimeter defense of senior Ally Lorntz and the inside presence of Leach, who recorded four and three steals, respectively. Lorntz added a game-high four assists to go with four points.
Fairfield drew within as few as seven points in the third, 32-25, after scores from Chloe Dell and Bailey Willard — Dell tallied team highs in points (14) and rebounds (7).
The win kept Angola’s perfect Northeast Corner Conference record intact (4-0 in league play). A big matchup in Albion versus Central Noble (5-2) is on deck for Thursday.