LYNCHBURG — Fayetteville senior Samantha Murphy scored 23 points, but her effort on offense was not enough for her Lady Rockets squad to overcome a large early deficit against Lynchburg.
The Lady Mustangs got seven points from Peyton Scott and six from McKayla Binkley in the first quarter, pushing the team out to a 21-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Fayetteville had trouble throughout the first half with the Lady Mustangs’ press. The team turned the ball over numerous times in the front-court, leading to easy lay-ups for Lynchburg. When the Lady Rockets were able to get shots off, the squad couldn’t rebound the ball, resulting in one-and-done possessions that allowed Lynchburg to build their lead.
The second quarter was more of the same. Lynchburg scored 23 points in the quarter, with six Lady Mustangs players scoring at least two points. Fayetteville scored just seven points in the quarter, two of which came from Murphy, who finished the half with nine points.
Things changed for the Lady Rockets a bit early in the third. The team held Lynchburg without a basket for nearly two-and-a-half minutes, but the squad couldn’t capitalize on the scoring drought. Fayetteville couldn’t secure a rebound on the defensive end and couldn’t make shots on the offensive side of the court, which allowed the Lady Mustangs to extend their lead to 55-24 at the end of the quarter.
Fayetteville head coach Toby Sheets said he switched things up defensively in the third quarter, moving away from the zone defense that Lynchburg seemed to always be able to find the gaps in to more of a man-to-man defense.
“We went straight man-to-man,” Sheets said. “We’re coming into a good man-t0-man team. We’re finding that maybe we can use some man-to-man down the stretch and into the tournament.”
Murphy hit three three-point shots in the fourth and Taylor Cornett scored six, but the damage was done. Murphy’s 23 points led all scorers. Cecilia Murphy and Meghan Koch each finished with five points while Taylor Cornett added seven for the Lady Rockets. Scott led the Lady Mustangs with 21 points while Hannah and McKayla Binkley added 15 and 13, respectively.
Fayetteville head coach Toby Sheets said the team’s rebounding in the fourth quarter was what led to the team’s improved offense.
“I know we had several more offensive rebounds,” Sheets said. “It sure makes a difference when you can get a few offensive rebounds against a team that can score that much.”
Sheets also noted the Lady Mustang’s defense is tough, and teams that play that way can be fun for coaches.
“They have a nice press,” Sheets said. “They understand defense and they have a nice squad. I’ve had teams that good before, they’re fun to coach.”
With the win, Lynchburg improves to 17-1 on the season and 11-0 in Southern Hills Athletic Conference play. The Lady Mustangs visit Manchester Thursday, Jan. 28. Fayetteville, meanwhile, drops to 11-7 overall and 6-4 in the SHAC. The Lady Rockets visit Felicity for a non-conference match on Wednesday, Jan. 27 before returning to conference play at Fairfield the next day.
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Other area girls’ basketball scores:
Southern Hills Athletic Conference
Eastern 47, Peebles 33
West Union 55, Ripley 48
Washington Court House 53, North Adams 49
Fairfield 56, Whiteoak 47
Notre Dame 76, Manchester 47
Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference
Felicity 50, Bethel-Tate 47
Norwood 53, Western Brown 44
Georgetown 61, Williamsburg 52
Goshen 51, Batavia 40
Amelia 46, New Richmond 32
Blanchester 48, Clermont Northeastern 33