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Lady Lions battle, fall to Fayetteville in overtime

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
Fairfield's Faith Donley led the Lady Lions with 21 points and was also the lone senior honored on senior night, Thursday in their SHAC game against Fayetteville. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

Thursday night saw the Fairfield Lady Lions play with one of their best efforts against the reigning Southern Hills Athletic Conference Division II champions. 

Fairfield and the Fayetteville Lady Rockets gave their respective fan bases much to cheer for, with the game even going into overtime, but the Lady Lions were unable to keep pace in the final minutes, falling in OT at 49-46. 

“In the locker room, we told them just to keep battling, and they did,” Fairfield head coach Jennifer Blue said. “We were proud of their efforts, we just really would have liked to come out on the other end of that.

“One thing we've been working on is just trying to have quality possessions instead of just having multiple possessions, and the girls have been putting in a ton of work in practice. They’ve really come together as a team. I told them you know, it's four minutes,  it’s still a ton of time, they don't have to get in a hurry. That's so different than from the start of the year when we were way behind, and they were just trying to rush everything. If we got down by two, they thought it was the end of the world. Now they realize that they can battle.”

The valiant effort by Fairfield saw them leading 16-13 after the first quarter, with the team beginning the game with a 5-0 lead in the first quarter off a 3-pointer by Rilee Quickle, and a layup from Faith Donley, who was the lone FHS senior celebrated on senior night. 

Donley ended the game with 21 points. 

After the Lady Rockets made a jumper, Kelsey Clark scored a bucket for Fairfield, followed by two free throws made by Donley for a 9-2 lead with 5:18 still left in the first quarter.

Even when two of those points were answered by the Lady Rockets, Clark drove to the hoop and made an underhand shot for two points for an 11-4 Fairfield lead with 4:36 remaining in the first quarter. 

Later in the first frame, Donley added two more points to the Fairfield lead, but the Lady Rockets answered with seven of the next 10 points scored, as the Fairfield points were scored with a three-point play by Donley for the 16-13 score after eight minutes of play. 

Fayetteville took the lead when halftime arrived at 28-26, outscoring the Lady Lions 15-10 in the second quarter. Fayetteville tied the score at 17 after outscoring FHS 4-1 to start the quarter, and later the Lady Lions regained the lead with a 3-pointer by Quickle at the 5:53 mark for a 20-17 score. 

After Fayetteville took a 21-20 lead, Donley put the Lady Lions back in front with four consecutive points as she grabbed two rebounds and drove the ball to the hoop on both occasions for a 24-21 lead with 3:25 left in the opening half. 

Fayetteville scored seven of the final nine points of the second quarter to take a 28-26 halftime lead. 

Fairfield started the third frame with a basket by Kassi Miller, and that was followed by points from Donley for a 31-28 FHS lead with 3:50 left in the quarter. Fayetteville’s Lilly Carlier tied the score at 31 with a 3-pointer, and after Miller put FHS back in front with a basket, it was Carlier and Cara Rummel who pushed Fayetteville back in the lead with points for a 34-33 lead with 45 seconds left in the third. 

Fairfield went back in front following free throws made by Quickle and Clark to end the quarter for a one-point lead at 35-34. 

Fayetteville started the fourth quarter with six straight points for a 40-35 lead with 5:41 on the clock, only to see the Lady Lions continue to battle with a layup by Quickle. Later, a basket by Donley — after the Lady Rockets added points to their lead — left the scored 42-39 in favor of the visitors. 

Fayetteville built a five-point lead with 2:43 on the clock, only to see Clark knock down a timely 3-pointer, and after a Fayetteville turnover, it was Isabelle Hale sinking a basket with 1:51 left in the quarter for the 44-44 score. 

In overtime, Fayetteville scored the first five points of the OT period with four points from Christina Murphy and a free throw by Rummel for a five-point lead at 49-44. 

Fairfield made one last basket with 36 seconds left in OT off a turnaround jumper by Donley. FHS had one more opportunity, but missed the shot, and Fayetteville rebounded with 6.4 left on the clock to seal the win. 

“Faith is amazing,” Blue said of the team’s only senior. “I can't say enough things about her, to have a senior leader like she is. She goes 110 percent every game and even in practice. We really wanted to win this one for her, but luckily we still have one more on this home court in the tournament, so that we can hopefully send her out in style on this court.”

For FHS, other final scoring included: Quickle (10), Clark (eight), Miller (five) and Hale (two).

FHS now stands at 5-8 in the SHAC Division II standings and 8-14 overall. Fayetteville improves to 10-3 in the SHAC Div. II standings as they are first place, and overall the win moves the Lady Rockets to a 14-7 record. 

Next for the Lady Lions is a Division IV Sectional Semifinal game on Monday, Feb. 12 at home against the Westfall Lady Mustangs at 7 p.m. 

“I told them tomorrow starts a new day, and that's what we’ve got to look at,” Blue said. “It's a whole new season tomorrow. Records don't count any more, they don't matter. It’s win and go on, lose and go home. We’re going to try to keep winning every game.”