The Lady Lions of Fairfield hosted the Lady Knights of Northwest High School on Thursday and emerged with the 50-39 victory.
Following a first quarter that saw the ladies from Northwest outscore the Lady Lions 10-8 the Lady Lions turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter. Fairfield outscored the Lady Knights 20-9 in the period to take a commanding 28-19 lead into halftime.
In the third period the visitors tried to turn the tide by employing a full court press. The press was successful on the first play forcing a turnover that led to a layup for the Lady Knights. With the pressure defense Northwest was able to force multiple turnovers in the third frame and outscored the Lady Lions 8-7 in the quarter.
Lady Lions head coach Chad Hamilton touched on the adjustment to the press after the game. “We have been working on a new press breaker this year. We haven’t had to run it very much. I think the first couple of possessions is sort of shell shock and I think sometimes we get scatterbrained between what we were normally running and what we are trying to do a little bit different this year. Once we sat down and drew it up on the board I think we can handle it, we just have to make smarter decisions sometimes in terms of when to force it and when not to,” Hamilton said.
In the fourth quarter the Lady Lions were able to figure out the pressing defense of the Lady Knights en route to scoring 15 points in the deciding frame to salt away the 50-39 win. The Northwest ladies mustered 12 points in the fourth but, it was not enough to close the gap on the Lady Lions.
Fairfield was led in scoring by Grace Shope as she tallied 13 points on the night including seven in the fourth quarter. Samar Cannon and Blake Adams also reached double figures for Fairfield with 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Lady Knights were led by Mya Chapman who scored 10 points to lead the effort for the visitors.
Hamilton was happy to get the win against a D I opponent. “I thought we had a lot of different girls stepped up tonight. Everybody got some minutes and we all did our job. I’m thrilled to come in here and get the victory,” said Hamilton.
The Fairfield coach also made mention of the play of Carli Reiber who drew three charges on the night and grabbed several key rebounds down the stretch. “Carli is a game changer sometimes when she comes in because you can count on her to box out every single play. She does a great job. She does all the little things that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet but, she is very important to our team,” Hamilton said.
The Lady Lions will be back in action on January 4 when they host Southern Hills Athletic Conference rivals the North Adams Lady Green Devils for their first game of the new year.
Fairfield: Shope 4(1)-2/2-13; Cannon 4(1)-11; Arnold 1/2-1; Reiber 1/2-1; Spargur 3-1/2-7; Magee 1-1/2-3; Adams 3-4/4-10; Barnes 2-4
Northwest: Williams 2-4; Russell 0/1-0; Boyd 1-2; Chain 1(1)-1/2-6; Casson 3(1)-9; Grant 2-4/4-8; Chapman 4-2/6-10
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.