Redwomen ‘miracle’ rally beats Lady Lions

Published 11:23 pm Saturday, January 21, 2023

Rock Hill Redwomen’s Hazley Matthews takes aim as she hits the game-winning shot in a 54-52 comeback over the Fairfield Lady Lions on Saturday. (Photo by Tim Gearhart)


Rock Hill Redwomen senior Hayleigh Risner pulled down the 500th rebound of her career on Saturday in a 54-52 win over Leesburg Fairfield. Pictured from left to right, sister J’lynn Risner, father J.P. Risner, Hayleigh, mother Casey Risner and Rock Hill head coach Eric Bailey. (Photo by Tim Gearhart)

By Jim Walker

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PEDRO —Trailing 52-46 with 30 seconds to play would seem like an almost impossible task.

In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast.”

The Rock Hill Redwomen pulled off what seemed impossible as they rallied to beat the Leesburg Fairfield Lady Lions 54-52 on Saturday.

“These girls are a very exciting team to watch,” said Rock Hill quarterback Eric Bailey. “We’ve been in games like this and we’ve learned how to play in these situations.”

Lola Hankins hit a 3-pointer — it was her only basket of the game — to make it 52-49. J’lynn Risner forced a turnover and got the ball to Hadyn Bailey who drilled the game-tying 3-pointer.

Bailey then forced a turnover with 8 seconds to go and the Redwomen got the ball to Hazley Matthews who stepped just inside the 3-point line at the top of the key and buried the game winner.

Bailey reflected on something Ironton legendary football coach Bob Lutz once said.

“Coach Lutz said, ‘Coaches get too much credit for winning and too much blame for losing. Players have to make the plays.’ That’s what happened to us,” said Bailey.

“I called a timeout and just told the girls to relax. We’ve been here before. We hit some clutch shots and got the turnovers. I called the final play but the girls executed it and Hazley hit another big shot. I’m just so proud of this girls and their accomplishments.”

One accomplish that occurred in the game was senior Hayleigh Risner pulling down the 500th rebound of her career.

“Haleigh doesn’t get the points, but she gets rebounds and blocks shots and does things you don’t see in the boxscore,” said coach Bailey.

Matthews scored 25 points and Hadyn Bailey scored 16 points to pace the Redwomen (14-5).

Peyton Magee scored a game-high 30 points including five 3-pointers. However, the Redwomen limited her to only a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter as they outscored Fairfield 15-9.

Magee had 11 points in the second quarter as Fairfield went up 30-25 at the half. She had three 3-pointers and scored 11 more points in the third quarter but Matthews hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 pints as Rock Hill got within 43-39.

Fairfield    14 16 13 9 = 52

Rock Hill 12 13 14 15 = 54

FAIRFIELD (11-5): Ginny Trent 0 0 0-0 0, Hailey Tolle 1 0 0-0 2, Hannah Hamilton 3 0 1-2 7, Kassi Miller 1 1 0-2 5, Peyton Magee 7 5 1-2 30, Faith Donley 4 0 0-0 8, Riley Quickle 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 6 2-6 52. Fouls: 9. Fouled out: None.

ROCK HILL (14-5): Hadyn Bailey 1 4 2-2 16, Hope Easterling 1 0 0-0 2, Hazley Matthews 5 4 3-3 25, Hayleigh Risner 1 0 0-0 2, J’lynn Risner 3 0 0-1 6, Lola Hankins 0 1 0-0 3. Totals: 11 9 5-6 54. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.