Lynchburg-Clay's Peyton Scott (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
Lynchburg-Clay's Peyton Scott (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
Three times is a charm, and for what will be the third time this season, the Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs will face conference rival Eastern Brown with the winner earning a ticket to the Division III State Final Four.

The two Southern Hills Athletic Conference (SHAC) counterparts have each taken a different path to the Division III Regional Finals, with Eastern doing what they’ve done all season long, while LC won with clutch baskets in the district round, followed by a strong performance and avenging a loss from earlier in the season in their regional semifinal win over Alexander.

LC (23-3) defeated the 21-win Lady Spartans, 65-52 after losing to them by nine points in the regular season. The Lady Mustangs did so by making the Lady Spartans play their style of basketball at the pace they needed to not relinquish the lead midway through the first quarter on Wednesday.

As for the avenging losses part, LC still has a tough task in their path to the State Final Four with a very strong Eastern Brown team waiting for them. The Eastern Lady Warriors are 25-1 overall. During the regular season, the Lady Warriors won the Division I Southern Hills Athletic Conference, and did so by defeating the Lynchburg-Clay squad twice by scores of 50-46 (at EB) and 67-57 (at LC).

LC head coach Whitney Lewis spoke about the upcoming regional final game.

“It’s going to be so much fun. Eastern’s a great team. What’s really cool is we’re both from the same league, and we’re fighting for a chance to go to the state tournament,” Lewis said. “That just shows heads and tails how competitive we are in this part of the region, and it’ll be a fun one.”

This postseason, the Lady Warriors defeated Rock Hill in the sectional finals, 63-23, and followed that with district wins over Nelsonville-York and Southeastern by scores of 45-21 and 40-27. In their regional semifinal game on Wednesday night, the Lady Warriors defeated Tuscarawas Valley, 52-41. In their four postseason games, Eastern has averaged 50 points for the tournament, while allowing an average of 28 ppg.

On the other side, the Lady Mustangs began the tournament with an 82-30 win over West Union, followed by district wins over Oak Hill (75-52) and Fairland in overtime (58-56). Then came the regional semifinal win over Alexander, 65-52.

LC has averaged 70 points while allowing 47.5 ppg.

In their regional semifinal game, Eastern was led by Mikayla Farris with 12 points and Allison Day with 11 as the Lady Warriors were 18-of-37 shooting, 1-of-7 from beyond the arc and 13-of-22 from the free-throw line. They also had points from a total of seven players in their win.

LC in their regional semifinal win on Wednesday had four players in double figures with Hannah Binkley leading with 19 points, followed by Peyton Scott with 17 points, while both McKayla Binkley and Zoe Fittro each scored 13 points.

This postseason, Hannah Binkley leads LC with 19 ppg. She’s also averaging 4.5 rebounds per game. Scott is averaging 15 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 3.8 steals per game in four tournament games. McKayla Binkley is averaging 16.8 ppg and 8.5 rpg this tournament.

Though both teams are highly regarded, they have different styles of play. In their two wins against the Lady Mustangs during the regular season, the Lady Warriors forced LC to play a slower tempo style of game, resulting in LC not being able to play at the faster pace they’ve become accustomed to.

In their first meeting on Jan. 9, the Lady Mustangs were led by McKayla Binkley with 17 points, while Hannah Binkley had 13 points. In that same meeting for EB, Allison Day led the Lady Warriors with 20 points.

Their second meeting came on Jan. 26 at LCHS where EB was led by Day with 36 points and Alexis Pennington with 14 points. In the second half, Eastern had scoring quarters of 21 points and 23 points for 44 points, while LC in the second half scored 34 points. The score was tied at 23 when halftime arrived in the second meeting.

Since the second loss to Eastern, the Lady Mustangs have won nine straight games. Eastern is currently on a 18-game winning streak with their lone loss being on Dec. 22 against Logan by a 57-51 score. In their lone loss, Eastern faced a Logan team that made 13 3-pointers against them.

No matter how the game turns out, either Eastern Brown or Lynchburg-Clay will be giving the SHAC a representative in the Division III State Final Four. The game will tip-off at 1:30 p.m. at Logan High School.