Fairfield's Emma Fouch led all scorers with 20 points in the Lady Lions' win over county and conference rival Lynchburg-Clay Monday. Also pictured is LC's Kalyn Rich. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Fairfield's Emma Fouch led all scorers with 20 points in the Lady Lions' win over county and conference rival Lynchburg-Clay Monday. Also pictured is LC's Kalyn Rich. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
DODSONVILLE — The Fairfield Lady Lions finally made their 2020-21 season debut on Monday night, and though they didn’t have the best start and had to overcome an 11-point rally by the host Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs, it was FHS who earned the win by a 50-39 score.

The win on Monday night was the 400th win in program history for the Lady Lions, and getting there saw Fairfield (1-0) lead by two points at the end of the first quarter, but trail at halftime by one point.

Fairfield was led by Emma Fouch with 20 points, followed by Madison Bronner with eight points. As for the Lady Mustangs, it was Sierra Benney who led the way in the scoring column with 16 points (five rebounds, 3-for-6 from the 3-point line, two assists), and next was Jade Massey with six points.

“The first half was pretty ugly for us. We had at least 10 turnovers in the first quarter, and a lot of that was being in a hurry too much,” FHS head coach Chad Hamilton said. “We pushed too much when it wasn’t there and forced things. We aren’t a veteran group without any seniors, but essentially we are. They’ve all been around and have at least one full year or two of varsity experience.

“The second half, we went back to the basics. In the first half (LCHS) got away from our rotations in the zone, got too many open shots. We cut down the turnovers and calmed down in the second half, went straight man, and luckily they (LCHS) didn’t knock down some of the open shots they had. We kept our composure, unlike last year.”

In the opening frame, the Lady Lions trailed by a 6-0 score within the first three minutes of action with the Lady Mustangs (0-2) beginning the scoring with a bucket by Jade Massey, followed by a point at the free-throw line by Addison West and then a free throw by Sierra Benney. Benney next added a layup with 4:40 on the clock for the six-point lead.

Fairfield stopped that run with a basket by Bronner, who followed that shot up with another two-point bucket. The score was tied at 6-6 when Fouch scored two points in the paint, and the Lady Lions took the lead with a jumper by Fouch with 2:46 left in the quarter for the 8-6 advantage.

Then the lead started to exchange hands at a rapid pace with Benney sinking a 3-pointer, which was followed by a bucket from Fouch. LC’s Bry Price answered with a two-point basket, only to see that exceeded with a 3-pointer from Fouch for a 13-11 lead to end the scoring in the first frame. Price also finished the game with eight rebounds.

Emma Newkirk scored the first points of the second quarter with a 3-pointer, but West answered with a 3-pointer of her own with 5:16 left in the second frame, bringing the Lady Mustangs back to within two points of the lead at 16-4.

That deficit didn’t last long as Peyton Magee and Newkirk scored a combined four points to extend the FHS lead to 20-14 with 4:15 left in the opening half. That lead quickly turned into 10 points with Fouch scoring four points (two from the free-throw line) for a 24-14 score with 2:51 still left in the quarter.

Then things really began to change, and all of the momentum flipped over to Lynchburg-Clay in the final 2:26 of the second frame. LC began what turned into an 11-point run to end the second frame, eventually putting them in the lead at 25-24 once halftime arrived.

“We had an 11-0 run to take the momentum to end the half, and I’m super proud of that,” LCHS head coach Whitney Lewis said. “We were down 10, and we really turned up the defensive side of the basketball and I think we did a really nice job of making our shots in the last two minutes. I thought we played hard all night, we just didn’t execute some on the offensive side. We are pretty young and working hard to get better every day.

“Today we missed two kids who are in quarantine, so we are going to be without them for the rest of the week. When you are missing players, it makes a difference, but I’m excited for the group of players that we’ll have and seeing how much we are going to improve as the season goes on.”

The 11-point run began with Serene Walker sinking back-to-back baskets, followed by a fast break layup from Massey. Next was a layup by Kalyn Rich, and then a 3-pointer from Benney with 10 seconds left in the second quarter put LCHS ahead by one point at halftime.

“We knew that 11-0 run was them hitting threes and us getting lost in our zone, and them beating us down the floor,” Hamilton said. “Those are just effort and execution items. I’m proud of the girls and how they responded in the second half.”

In the third frame the, Fairfield offense scored nine points, while LCHS was held to five points for a 33-30 advantage for the visiting Lady Lions. In that third frame, Fouch sank a 3-pointer to put the Lady Lions in the lead, but Rich tied the score at 27 with two points for LCHS.

Benney put the Lady Mustangs back in front with a 3-pointer, but the Lady Lions answered with the final six points of the third with two points in the paint by Braylynn Haines, which put FHS in front at 30-20 with 4:55 left in the quarter. The 6-0 run also included fast break points by Newkirk and two points from Magee.

“I thought Ella Newkirk got into the passing lanes a lot on defense and had steals and even more deflections,” Hamilton said. “I thought she played really well. Madison Bronner came up with some big baskets, and she’s tough to guard.”

Fairfield outscored LCHS, 17-9 in the fourth. In the final frame, FHS had four points by Fouch, five points by Magee (including a 3-pointer), four points from Bronner and four points by Haines.

LC in the fourth frame had three points from Price, two points by Massey and four points by Benney, who went 4-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final frame.

“We have two seniors, so (Sierra) Benney stepped up big for us and was aggressive on both the offensive and defensive side, and that is a big thing,” Lewis said. “Serene stepped up as well, and both seniors have taken the leadership role to heart with our younger kids.

“We are going to put every effort we have on the floor every night, and I thought tonight we did that.”