Lynchburg-Clay's Logan Binkley shoots the ball vs. the Fairfield Lady Lions, Thursday at FHS. Binkley totaled eight points in the Highland County and SHAC rivalry game. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
Lynchburg-Clay's Logan Binkley shoots the ball vs. the Fairfield Lady Lions, Thursday at FHS. Binkley totaled eight points in the Highland County and SHAC rivalry game. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
LEESBURG — The Southern Hills Athletic Conference game between the host Fairfield Lady Lions and Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs had just a three-point differential when halftime arrived. The second half, however, was a different story as the Lady Mustangs eventually won by 20 points over their Highland County rival by a 59-39 score.

The Thursday night showdown between the two schools saw a first half where the Lady Lions led on their home court at the end of the first frame by a 18-16 score, but when halftime rolled around, it was Lynchburg-Clay with a 29-26 lead.

Then the second half came, and the difference from one half to another was evident by the play of LCHS junior Peyton Scott, who rebounded after a tough game Saturday and dominated the competition on Thursday night with 31 points, seven rebounds and two steals. For the game, Scott sank five 3-pointers (three in the second half) and was 4-of-4 from the free-throw line against the current Division II SHAC champions.

“We were more focused in the second half. We had a day off Wednesday, and this was the first game we’ve had this week, so we were excited to come out and play, but we just didn’t put everything together in the first half,” LC head coach Whitney Lewis said. “The second half, we were more focused.”

There was also the play of Zoe Fittro that helped propel the Lady Mustangs over Fairfield, as she made three 3-pointers in the game — all in the second half — and had a total of 11 points, giving LC two players in double figures.

How the game played out, though, was a battle in the first half with the score being tied early on at 4-4 and later at 16-16 in the opening eight minutes of action.

Logan Binkley tied the score at 4-4 for the Lady Mustangs, and those points were followed with the first 3-pointer of the game by Scott. That trey was quickly answered with a 3-pointer by Samara Cannon of Fairfield (tying the score at 7-7) and a layup from Grace Shope (with the assist from Blake Adams) for a 9-7 Fairfield advantage. Shope totaled 15 points in the loss, and Adams finished with six points. Also in the first frame, Fairfield’s Ashley Sowards scored two points.

After LC (9-3, 13-7) took a 10-9 lead with two points by Scott, the Lady Lions were back in front with a jumper from Cannon and two points by Shope for a 13-10 lead at the 3:26 mark of the quarter.

“We really had to stop Grace (Shope), as she’s a great player,” Lewis said. “Fairfield is a good team. They have a mixture of bigs and guards who can play, and so we had to switch up our defense to contain Shope and at the same time make sure their other players didn’t get easy buckets.

“Switching the defense really helped us a lot, and our kids came out and responded with that.”

Scott was right back in the mix with a layup and then two free-throw conversions for a 14-13 LC lead with 2:38 on the first-quarter clock. Shope answered her fellow 1,000-point career scoring counterpart with a 3-pointer, only to have Scott steal the basketball and add two points to the LC total at the 1:03 mark for a 16-16 score. Adams ended the first-quarter scoring with a jumper to put FHS in front at 18-16.

The Lady Mustangs opened the second quarter with six straight points off points in the paint by Abby Blankenship, Binkley and Scott for a 22-18 advantage with 5:36 left in the first half. Binkley ended the game with eight points and five rebounds. Blankenship finished with six points and five rebounds in the win.

Fairfield (10-3, 16-5) came back with a layup on a fast break by Shope, only to see that feat equaled by Scott with 4:28 on the clock. Adams came back for the Lady Lions with two points around the 4:00 mark, cutting the LC lead to just two points at 24-22.

Emily Pinkerton — who totaled three points and six rebounds — pushed the LC lead back to four points with points in the paint, forcing FHS to call a timeout four seconds after the basket was made. Following the timeout, the Lady Lions got back on track with a layup from Shope, but 15 seconds later Pinkerton sank a free throw to make it a three-point advantage for the visitors.

LC called a timeout at the 2:00 mark, and 45 seconds following the stoppage in play, Shope brought the Lady Lions to within a point of the LC lead at the 1:15 mark with two points off a fast break chance. LC ended the first half with Blankenship sinking two free throws for a 29-26 lead.

Then came the second half, and LC played a strong third frame, seeing them double up the Lady Lions at 16-8 in the third quarter as Fittro sank two 3-pointers and Scott also made two treys in the frame, along with a two-point basket. Blankenship added to the LC scoring as well with two points in the quarter as LC took a 45-34 lead.

In the third, Fairfield had two 3-points from Cannon — who totaled three 3-pointers for the game — and finished with 11 points. Also in the third, Brianna Barnes added two points to the Lady Lions’ side of the scoreboard. Barnes finished with five points.

LC owned the final eight minutes with a 14-5 fourth frame as Fittro tallied five points in the frame, while Scott had seven points in the fourth and Binkley scored two points as well.

“Peyton was hitting from the outside tonight, and when she does that she’s very dangerous because you have to honor that shot, but she can drive by you in a second,” Lewis said. “That really worked to our advantage tonight, especially in the second when they had to go to man against us.”

FHS had two points by Shope and three points from Barnes in the fourth.

“We really struggled offensively tonight,” Fairfield head coach Chad Hamilton said. “They (LC) went 1-3-1, and we didn’t shoot the ball well at all. When you don’t put the ball in the basket, you aren’t going to have a lot of success. Credit Lynchburg-Clay, they played good defense. Also, Peyton Scott is just phenomenal. I kept waiting for her to miss and she never did. You can show a lot of different looks at her, but she’s a great player.”

For the game, the Lady Lions were 1-of-1 from the free-throw line with four total 3-pointers and 13 two-point baskets. LCHS totaled eight 3-pointers in the game, finished 7-of-8 from the free-throw line and made 14 two-point field goals.

Next for the Lady Lions is their regular-season finale on Monday, Feb. 12 at home vs. Portsmouth Clay.

The Lady Mustangs play again on Monday as well in a makeup SHAC game vs. North Adams.