McClain's Bri Weller drives to the hoop against Washington, Saturday at MHS. Weller led all scorers with 18 points in the Lady Tigers' FAC victory. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
McClain's Bri Weller drives to the hoop against Washington, Saturday at MHS. Weller led all scorers with 18 points in the Lady Tigers' FAC victory. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
GREENFIELD — From start to finish, the McClain Lady Tigers dominated their first home game of the 2020-21 season, leading to a 66-14 win over Frontier Athletic Conference rival Washington Saturday at McClain Gym.

Just how dominant were the Lady Tigers in the first quarter? McClain built a 17-2 lead after the first eight minutes were completed, as in that first frame they had a 13-0 run in the final 3:23 of the quarter.

“We aren’t taking anything for granted, and these kids have played varsity basketball for a while and it is their turn, and they took advantage of every opportunity (Saturday),” MHS head coach Jarrod Haines said. “I’m super proud of them.

“We want to go deep, and we want to keep pushing the ball. And we saw they (Washington) had just five girls warming up, so the key to our game was throwing girls in the game and just running up and down the court, taking advantage of those opportunities. You could tell in the second, third, fourth quarter we were the deeper team, and we really got up and down the court.”

In the opening frame, it was Payton Pryor who scored the first points of the game for MHS, and later in the quarter the Lady Tigers added to their lead with a layup by Bri Weller, with the assist from Emma Stegbauer, with 3:47 left on the clock.

Weller outscored the entire Washington team, as she finished with 18 points for the game. Pryor was next in the scoring column with 11 points.

Washington’s lone basket of the quarter came from Aaralyne Estep with 3:35 on the clock, but from there it was all McClain right up to the buzzer that gave them a 15-point lead.

The aforementioned 13-0 run began with a 3-pointer by Josie Crabtree, followed by a layup from Stegbauer. Iva Easter scored the final six points of the run with three consecutive free throws with 48.1 left in the quarter, and then at the buzzer she sank a 3-pointer for the 17-2 score.

McClain was clutch from the free-throw line in the first two minutes of the second quarter with Easter sinking a free throw to start things off, followed by two made by Kyla Burchett, two from Pryor and two by Weller for a 24-2 advantage with 6:02 left in the first half.

Washington scored their four points of the second frame off baskets by Allie Mongold with 3:43 left in the quarter, and from there MHS in the final 2:17 had a bucket from Weller and a two-point basket on a fast break by Easter — with the assist in transition from Jaelyn Pitzer. The final two points of the second frame were off two converted free throws by Weller for a 30-6 halftime lead for McClain.

McClain scored 19 points in the third frame, while the defense of the Lady Tigers held Washington to four points with the score jumping to 49-10 in favor of McClain.

McClain scored the first 16 points of the third frame with Burchett opening the quarter with a jumper, as she was assisted by Pryor. Next was a layup by Weller and a put-back by Pryor for a 36-6 score, a 30-point lead with 6:30 left in the third.

Next were two free throws made by Weller. She followed that with a layup with the assist from Burchett on a fast break, then Weller added another two points for a 42-6 advantage.

The run continued with a steal at mid-court and layup from Easter, then Easter had another two-point basket with around 3:35 on the clock for the 40-point lead of 46-6.

Washington broke up the scoring with a basket by Megan Sever, and MHS added a point from the charity stripe with the shot made by Easter. Washington’s Mallory Hicks scored a two-point basket, but the final points of the quarter came off a basket by McClain’s Evelyn Vanzant for the 49-10 lead.

McClain had the game well in hand before the start of the fourth quarter, and they won the fourth frame as well at 17-4 with baskets from Pryor, Stegbauer (a 3-pointer), Vanzant, Lily Barnes and Haylee Havens.

“Emma played great defense on their point guard. She got them out of sync on their offense, gets us into our offense and does a really good job of finding people,” Haines said. “We really want our defense to run into our offense, and I have kids who have played since they were freshmen. Jaelyn Pitzer defensively, she has her hands on things and she’s rebounding the basketball. She’s done a lot of really good things.

“Everyone did a real good job defensively. We hang our hats on that and take pride in our defense.”

For Washington in the fourth frame, points were scored by Hicks and Alizae Ryan.

McClain was 18-of-25 from the free-throw line for the game, while Washington was 0-of-7.

“This season we’ve been really good at getting to the free-throw line and taking advantage of those opportunities, and hopefully we can continue to do that,” Haines said.

The win moves McClain to 1-0 in the FAC and 3-0 overall. Next for McClain is an FAC game scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 2 as they will host the Jackson Ironladies.