LUCASVILLE — As the Valley Lady Indians added the Fairfield Lady Lions last minute, and last call, for their regular-season schedule —Valley coach Tyson Phillips implemented a plan.
That being, in Thursday night’s non-league encounter at Valley’s Reservation, Phillips played his regular rotation of Indians in cantos one and three —and his reserves in stanzas two and four.
Valley’s starters won those two quarters by a combined 24-17, but the Lady Lions —which played their normal rotation from opening tip to final buzzer — led from 16 seconds into the second quarter on, and ultimately captured a 50-33 victory.
That final score was the Lady Lions’ largest lead, as Fairfield is a Division III girls basketball program — while the Lady Indians dropped down to a Division IV club for this campaign.
Fairfield finished its regular season at 17-5, while the Lady Indians ended up at 8-14.
Both will begin tournament play this coming week, with eighth-seeded Valley hosting ninth-seeded New Boston (12-10) for a Division IV sectional championship on Wednesday night.
Tipoff time is set for 7 p.m., but first things first, Phillips wanted to use Thursday’s addition as a tuneup-type of encounter.
The Lady Lions were scheduled to play at Clay on Thursday for both clubs’ regular-season finales, but that game was canceled on Wednesday night —and Fairfield found Valley for two teams needing, or wanting, a 22nd tilt.
Phillips explained his strategy of half-starters, half-reserves for Thursday night.
Some of it to avoid injury, some of it to stay sharp with a week off before the next game, and some of it to get the young Lady Indians some varsity minutes.
“We utilized this for what we wanted to utilize it for. Through our first 20 games this year, I think we only played five games where we had the full lineup healthy,” said Phillips. “Every time we turned around it seemed like we had injuries this year. We actually still have a few things we would like to put into our system. But this was good to get everybody involved. I broke everybody into two groups tonight to rotate in and out, and I thought our first group did really well except for two possessions in the first quarter. The second group came in and played hard. It was great to see them correct their miscues and do better in the fourth quarter.”
The Lady Indians scored the opening six points as part of winning the first quarter 10-8, but then Fairfield senior standout Peyton Magee made her third of five first-half three-pointers — putting the Lady Lions in front for good.
Fairfield scored 17 second-period points to the Lady Indians’ two —a Karsyn Davis field goal with a minute and 10 seconds to play.
Meanwhile, Fairfield finished the opening half ahead 25-12 —as the 1,000-point scorer and 400-assister Magee made two first-quarter triples and three more in the second, part of 21 first-half points which also included three twos.
Magee ended up with 28 points —with two more fourth-quarter threes and 1-of-3 free throws against the Valley reserves.
Fairfield, with a 34-26 advantage after three frames, took the last salvo 16-7 to win going away.
The Lady Indians did win the third 14-9, as Emilie Johnson drilled two threes and added a two for her eight points.
Madison Montgomery, who scored eight of the Indians’ first-period points with Lexie Morrow mustering a field goal, paced the Lady Indians with 11 —on four field goals and 3-of-4 foul shots.
Morrow finished with five —chipping in a field goal and a split of freebies in the third.
In the fourth, Davis dropped in another basket, Emilie Barr bucketed 2-of-3 free throws, and Kelsey Lebrun bagged an old-fashioned three-point play.
Phillips said it was good to see the Lady Indians’ reserves compete well with the Lady Lion regulars —just as Valley’s starters did.
“They gave a great effort. I couldn’t tell you what the final score was, but that was something that we weren’t even worried about. We were out there to compete and try to get better, and use this as a practice game to try and tune up for the tournament,” said the coach. “I thought all 15 girls which played did great things.”
Indeed, Phillips’ planned goals — for the present of Thursday night and for the future of Wednesday night and the sectional championship game with the Lady Tigers — were met.
“We’re excited about playing for a sectional championship,” he said. “We like the opportunity we have, and hopefully we can capitalize, continue to work hard and take advantage of our opportunity of playing at home. It’s a goal that we have, and these girls have worked hard. There’s a lot of times the last couple of years we’ve been behind the eight-ball with limited lineups and sickness and injuries and still trying to develop some of our younger talent. To have this opportunity next week is something these girls are looking forward to.”
* * *
Fairfield 8 17 9 16—50
Valley 10 2 14 7—33
FAIRFIELD 50 (17-5)
Hailey Tolle 3 2-4 8, Hannah Hamilton 2 0-2 5, Kassi Miller 1 3-4 5, Peyton Magee 10 1-3 28, Faith Donley 2 0-1 4, Jobey Hattan 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 18 6-14 50; Three-point field goals: (Peyton Magee 7, Hannah Hamilton 1)
VALLEY 33 (8-14)
Bella Fultz 0 0-0 0, Kelsey Lebrun 1 1-1 3, Lucie Ashkettle 0 0-0 0, Karsyn Davis 2 0-0 4, Lani Spradlin 0 0-0 0, Savannah Easter 0 0-0 0, Emilie Johnson 3 0-0 8, Jayden Chaffin 0 0-0 0, Anika Carpenter 0 0-0 0, Emile Barr 0 2-3 2, Lexie Morrow 2 1-2 5, Mya Wolfe 0 0-0 0, Emily Roberts 0 0-0 0, Madison Montgomery 4 3-4 11, Cassidy Montgomery 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 12 7-10 33; Three-point field goals: 2 (Emilie Johnson 2)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved