It was a tight game all the way through for the Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs as they held off the visiting Fayetteville Rockets Friday night in a SHAC matchup.
Joe Giordano and Eric McLaughlin led scoring for the Mustangs with 23 and 22 points, respectively.
The Mustangs advance to 15-4, 11-1 on the season.
Fayetteville started the game in the lead and kept it for the rest of the first quarter, finishing the period ahead by 2 at 14-16. Joe Giordano put up 11 of Lynchburg’s 14 points for the period.
The Lynchburg boys turned things around in the second quarter with Eric McLaughlin unleashing the beast, putting up two threes and a two-pointer and leading the Mustangs to a 19-point gain for the quarter. The home team took a hard-earned 4-point lead into the locker room at 33-29 at the half.
The third quarter saw the Mustangs improve their lead to as much as 11 points. Eamin Pierson and McLaughlin each put up two threes in the quarter, and McLaughlin tossed in a two to lead scoring for the Mustangs. By the end of the quarter, the Rockets had knocked the Mustangs’ lead down to 8 points, finishing the period at 52-44 with the home team on top.
In the last two minutes of the final period, the Rockets had wittled the Mustangs’ lead down to one point, but some more strong shooting from Eric McLaughlin brought the Lynchburg fellows back into the lead in time for the final buzzer, ending the thriller at 68-62.
“I thought we were gritty tonight,” said Lynchburg-Clay head coach Matt Carson. “There were times I would have liked to see us execute a little more, but the guys weren’t afraid to take big shots. Eric and Joe hit some big shots… It’s a team thing. We’ve taken everybody’s best all year, and these kids got to do something pretty special, and I think they clinched the league outright on the home floor. Different guys made plays at different times. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but they’re a relentless ball team… We’ve played Fayetteville twice this year, and it’s been a dogfight each time they play us.”
Elsewhere, the Fairfield Lions beat Ripley on the road at 60-54, advancing to 16-5, 10-2; Hillsboro took a 71-50 loss on the road at Chillicothe, dropping to 4-17, 4-9; and McClain fell to Clinton-Massie in a road game at 56-50, dropping to 6-14, 3-10.
Lynchburg-Clay — 14 19 19 16 — 68
Fayetteville — 16 13 15 18 — 62
LCHS: Pierson (2)-6 McLaughlin 4(4)-2/4-22; Hilt 1-2/2-4; Giordano 7(1)-6/9-23; Lampkin (2)-2/2-8; Stroop 2-1/2-5
FPHS: Conner 1(1)-5; Ball 2(1)-3/4-10; Lanham 5-3/5-13; Wiederhold 3-6; McCulley 2(1)-7; Smyth 7-7/10-21
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.