The Fairfield Lady Lions started from behind in the first quarter Thursday night, but after a close game, the Leesburg ladies had outcrafted the Clay Lady Eagles and earned themselves a slot in the district semifinals.
The Lady Lions shot 15 for 23 from the line for 65 percent in the sectional championship matchup, while the Clay ladies made 10 out of 16 for 63 percent.
Grace Shope led scoring for the Lions with 15 points.
Clay started things up by jumping out to a lead after a brief 2-2 tie in the first few minutes. The first-quarter score was 10-12 with the Lions behind by 2. Shope, Trinity Huff, Blake Adams and Brianna Barnes scored for the Lions in the period.
The game was tied four times in the second quarter alone, with both teams improving their scoring. The Lions made a 21-point gain for the quarter while keeping Clay at 15, snagging the lead in the last minute with a 3-point shot from Carly Arnold. Abigail Newkirk, Shope, Carly Arnold, Lauren Arnold, Huff, Adams and Barnes scored.
By the half, the score was 31-27 with the Lady Lions in the lead.
Both teams stalled each other out with 8 points apiece in the third quarter. The Clay ladies managed to tie the score twice, but were unable to take the lead. Newkirk, Shope, Adams and Barnes scored.
The Eagles took a 1-point lead in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t slow Fairfield down enough to make more. Shope scored 8 of Fairfield’s 20 points in the fourth, while Carly Arnold, Huff, Adams and Barnes finished off the rest.
In the end, the Lady Lions were able to outlast the Eagles with a final score of 59-52, earning net-cutting duty and a spot in the district semifinal.
“This was one of our goals at the beginning of the season,” said Fairfield coach Chad Hamilton. “We got here last year, we wanted to repeat, and we did.”
The Lady Lions will travel to Jackson next Saturday for the district semifinal game.
Fairfield — 10 21 8 20 — 59
Clay — 12 15 8 17 — 52
FHS: Newkirk 2-0/2-4; Shope 6-3/5-15; C. Arnold 2(1)-2/4-9; L. Arnold (1)-3; Huff 2-4/4-8; Adams 3-4/5-10; Barnes 4-2/3-10
CHS: Jaelyn Warnock 2-4; Osborn 1-2; Balestra 3-0/2-6; Delotell (3)-2/2-11; Gilliland (3)-0/1-9; Jensen Warnock 6-8/11-20
Lady Wildcats wrap up tournament run
In other news, the Whiteoak Lady Wildcats ended their tournament run with a 58-15 loss to Notre Dame High School. The Mowrystown girls shot 5 for 10 from the freethrow line for 50 percent. Maggie Carr led scoring for the Wildcats with 7 points.
Notre Dame — 19 20 17 2 — 58
Whiteoak — 3 3 7 2 — 15
NDHS: Hoover 1-2; Schmidt 2(1)-0/4-7; Dettwiller 2-4; Schaefer 3(5)-4/4-25; Ball 1-2; Hash 1-2; Smith 7-2/4-16
WHS: Jones 1-2; Carr 1-5/8-7; Thompson 1-2; Chisman 2-4
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.