Fairfield's Madison Bronner brings the ball up the court for the Lady Lions in their season opener against Ripley, Monday at Grandle Gymnasium. Also pictured for Fairfield is Faith Donley. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Fairfield's Madison Bronner brings the ball up the court for the Lady Lions in their season opener against Ripley, Monday at Grandle Gymnasium. Also pictured for Fairfield is Faith Donley. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
LEESBURG – The 50th season of Fairfield Lady Lions basketball began with success, as the host team Lady Lions made 10 first-half 3-pointers, setting the tone for the Southern Hills Athletic Conference showdown with the Ripley Lady Blue Jays.

The veteran Fairfield team not only won by an 81-22 score, but in the first half they allowed just five points in the first quarter and only three points in the second frame.

Fairfield led 29-5 at the end of the first frame, and the scoring for Fairfield began with Emma Fouch sinking a 3-pointer less than a minute into the game for a 3-0 lead. Following two points by Ripley, Fairfield scored the next eight points with a 3-pointer from Peyton Magee, followed by two made free throws and another trey from Fouch, putting FHS ahead, 11-2 with 4:51 left on the first-quarter clock.

Fouch led all scorers with 21 points, as she made five 3-pointers (all in the first half), along with one two-point basket, and she also finished 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.

Ripley broke up the scoring with a 3-pointer of their own, but those three points were their last of the frame. As for the Lady Lions (1-0), there was a different story being written, because they were just getting started in the scoring column.

Fairfield scored the next 18 points of the first quarter, including making four straight 3-pointers. The streak of threes started with Fouch making one, followed by Ella Newkirk equaling the feat. The two seniors repeated the process, leading to a 23-5 Fairfield advantage with 1:45 left in the first quarter.

Newkirk finished with 17 points, with the senior totaling four two-point baskets and three 3-pointers.

Following an FHS timeout, the scoring continued for FHS with Faith Donley and Newkirk each having a steal and fast-break layup, and the final points of the first frame came off a layup by Magee with the assist by Donley for the 29-5 lead after one quarter. Magee finished with 10 points (two 3-pointers), while Donley totaled seven points.

“It is good to get a win like this. When everybody gets to step onto the floor of a varsity game, you know you are clicking on all cylinders,” FHS head coach Jeremy McGraw said. “We shot the ball extremely well in the first half, and I thought we played as a team, found the open person and made things happen.

“We talked about how we have several girls who can shoot, and what we talked about, we know we aren’t making 10 threes in a half each game, so we know we have to play defense and get stops when we need to, and we did that tonight.”

Fairfield added 27 more points to the home side of the scoreboard in the second frame, as nine players from their roster put the ball through the hoop.

Newkirk and Donley combined to put FHS ahead 32-5 one minute into the second frame, and after RHS added a 3-pointer of their own to snap a 21-0 scoring run by FHS, the Lady Lions began another scoring run, this one starting from the 6:10 mark of the second and ending at the 4:28 mark of the third frame, equaling a 32-0 scoring run, which had Fairfield ahead 64-8 with 5:18 left in the third quarter.

During the consecutive 32 points of scoring, it began with a 3-pointer by Fouch, followed by two free throws by her as well. Then came a 3-pointer by Newkirk and two free throws from Madison Bronner. Next was a steal and layup from Donley.

Donley had another layup off a pass from Magee for the assist with 3:19 left in the second as she took a hard hit to the ground. The remainder of the scoring for FHS in the third included points from Magee (a 3-pointer), Kelsey Clark, Caitlyn Quickle, Shaleigh Duncan and Hannah Hamilton for a 48-point lead at 56-8 at halftime.

In the first half alone, FHS had 10 3-pointers and had nine players score points.

With the game in hand, the third quarter saw Fairfield score 22 points from seven players, completing the 32-point run with two baskets by Braylynn Haines, plus points from Newkirk and Fouch for a 64-8 lead with 5:18 left in the third frame.

With FHS ahead by 35-plus points, the new running clock rule came into effect, and RHS broke the scoring streak of Fairfield as well with a 3-pointer. FHS answered with four straight points from Bronner. The rest of the FHS scoring included points by Newkirk, Haines and Quickle for a 78-14 lead.

“We want intense ball pressure at all times. We want our opponents to be uncomfortable, and I thought we did that tonight. We are getting better night in and night out collectively as a whole defensively. It started to show last Thursday in our final scrimmage, and it carried over to this game,” McGraw said.

In the fourth quarter, Fairfield had scoring from Hamilton and Clark.

More final scoring totals for FHS included Hamilton (three), Quickle (three), Bronner (six), Clark (two), Haines (six) and Duncan (six).

Also for FHS, they collected 31 rebounds and were led by Clark with five, while Fouch and Quickle each had four rebounds. Bronner, Magee, Kassi Miller and Haines each had three rebounds. Duncan finished with two rebounds, while Hamilton, Jobey Hattan, Ginny Trent and McKinley Cox each had one rebound.

As a team, the Lady Lions totaled 21 two-point baskets, 10 3-pointers and they were 9-of-12 from the free-throw line.

RHS was led in scoring by Grace Taylor and Riley Finn with eight points each. Ellaina Hutchinson and Alexis Armacost each scored three points. Ripley finished with six 3-pointers in the loss.

Next for Fairfield is a non-conference game on Friday, Nov. 26 against Fairland at the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Ind., the famed gym from the movie “Hoosiers.”

“Playing Fairland will be a great test for us early in the season,” McGraw said. “The girls are looking forward to it and are super excited to play at the Hoosier Gym. Everybody in the boys and girls program is just excited to have the opportunity to play there.”