The Fairfield Lions hosted the Ripley Blue Jays on homecoming in an SHAC matchup on Friday night.
The game began cold for both sides. The Lions dominated the offensive glass but failed to convert near the basket. For the Blue Jays, they were probing inside on the Lions 2-3 zone but failed to capitalize. A back and forth struggle between the teams led to Ripley leading 15-8 heading to the second.
The Lions found their offensive rhythm in the second behind nine points on three three-point field goals by Cody Gragg. Despite an 11-2 run by the Lions, the Blue Jays were able to capitalize on offensive rebounds for easy baskets to take a 29-27 lead to halftime.
The Lions and Blue Jays came out of the locker room trading baskets. Fairfield took a 41-38 lead midway through the third period but coughed up two turnovers that lead to fast break points for the Blue Jays. The game remained tight heading into the fourth with the score 49-45 in favor of the Blue Jays.
The fast-paced style of play began to take its toll on the Lions as the fourth period began, allowing the Blue Jays to go on an 8-2 run to lead by as many as ten. The Lions clawed their way back but ran out of time and were forced to begin fouling in the final minute of play. The Blue Jays Landon Dearing was able to ice the game from the charity stripe en route to a 71-66 win.
On a happier note for Fairfield athletics, senior Grace Shope was honored for becoming the all-time leading scorer in school history. The previous girls record was held by Heather Cox-Storer who finished her career with 1,199 points. The previous boys record was held by Nathan VanWinkle who finished his career with 1,543 points. Shope is currently sitting on 1,640 points and counting.
Ripley: Harney 9-4/5-22; Royal 5(2)-2/3-18; Dearing 3(2)-4/4-16; Rigdon 1(3)-11; Fyffe 2-4
Fairfield: Gragg 4(4)-2/2-22; Buddlemeyer 6-4/5-16; Ayers 5(1)-3/4-16; Bentley 3-1/2-7; Willey 1-1/1-3; Beatty 1-0/2-2
Spencer Michael is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.