The Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs had the lead at the end of the first quarter in their regional championship Saturday at Logan High School – and held onto it through half time, until their Southern Hills Athletic Conference rival Eastern High School put up a defensive wall in the second half, stalling LC’s scoring while going on an offensive streak to put 46-42 on the scoreboard by the final buzzer favoring the Lady Warriors.
The Lady Mustangs shot 10 of 12 from the freethrow line for 83 percent.
Peyton Scott led scoring for Lynchburg, while senior twins McKayla and Hannah Binkley finished their final high school basketball game with 10 points each.
It was a game of spurts in the first quarter with several lead changes. Scott and the Binkley sisters scored a total of 13 points for the Mustangs in the period, wrapping things up with a 4-point lead at 13-9.
The Lynchburg ladies came out firing in the second quarter, forcing their style of play on the Warriors with enough speed to make another 13-point gain between Scott and the Binkley sisters while keeping Eastern at 8 points for the quarter.
By the half, the score was 26-15 with Lynchburg ahead by 11.
Things turned around in the third quarter, though, when Eastern put up enough defense to keep Lynchburg at only 6 points for the period while making 15 for themselves. It was Eastern’s Alexa Pennington who tied the score with less than a minute on the clock. Two free throws from Scott brought Lynchburg back into the lead, but not for long. Scott put up four free throws in the quarter while Hannah Binkley threw in a 2-pointer.
The fourth quarter saw Eastern snatch the lead in the first two minutes of play, putting Lynchburg down by 5 with five minutes on the clock, then, at the 2:30 mark, Pennington threw a 2-pointer for Eastern to put Lynchburg down by 7. McKayla Binkley and Scott each put up a long three in the next minute to bring the score to 40-39, before the Lady Warriors forced their lead back up to as much as 7 points in the final moments of the game. Lexi Waits threw a three in the last two seconds to bring Lynchburg within 5 points of the win, but it was too late. By the final buzzer, the score was 46-42 with Eastern taking the win.
The Eastern Lady Warriors will represent the Southern Hills Athletic Conference in the state Final Four.
“We played a really great game,” said Lynchburg-Clay girls coach Whitney Lewis.”The third quarter kind of got us, we just couldn’t score when we really needed to, and they did. I thought we played really good pressure defense. Those kids, they work so hard… They fought so hard. It’s not every day you get to make it to the regional finals and fight for a spot in the Final Four… The hype coming into this game was awesome. We were ready to play, and the girls were so excited to play in front of this massive crowd.”
Lewis said she’ll miss coaching the Binkley twins and Lexi Waits, all of whom graduate this spring.
“We’re losing three kids that just play so hard,” she said. “They put their heart and soul into every single game. They’ve had amazing careers, and they’re just really good basketball players. When someone like that is part of your program, it’s hard to say goodbye, and that makes it tough.”
EHS – 9 8 15 16 – 46
LCHS – 13 13 6 10 – 42
EHS: Reynolds 4-8/5-13; Day 4-4/6-12; Farris 5-3/6-13; Pennington 4-8
LCHS: Waits (1)-3; Scott 4(2)-5/6-19; H. Binley 2(1)-3/4-10; M. Binkley 1(2)-2/2-10