McClain's Bryson Badgley looks to pass in Tuesday night's game vs. Zane Trace. Badgley scored a game-high 19 points for the Tigers. (HCP Photo/Jim Jones)
McClain's Bryson Badgley looks to pass in Tuesday night's game vs. Zane Trace. Badgley scored a game-high 19 points for the Tigers. (HCP Photo/Jim Jones)
GREENFIELD — The McClain Tigers boys basketball team rebounded from a season-opening loss at Unioto by defeating Zane Trace 44-41 on their home floor Tuesday night.

Junior Bryson Badgley led the Tigers in scoring with a game-high 19 points as McClain evened their overall record to 1-1 on the season.

“Bryson made some big ones for us in the second half,” McClain head coach Joe B. Stewart said. “This was very much a team win, and I thought we played much better on both ends of the floor tonight.”

What became the game-winning basket that put the Tigers ahead for good came from a 3-pointer by junior Bryson Badgley, who put McClain ahead 42-41 with 1:01 left in regulation.

Both teams struggled in the opening quarter, scoring just four points each, but the Tigers offense got going in the second period where they outscored the Pioneers 16-13, taking a 20-17 lead at the half.

“We’re still very much in a learning mode, and I felt like we played a first half of style instead of substance,” Stewart said.

Badgley led McClain with nine points at the break, followed by Preston Saunders, who added six. Kyle Stonerock scored six points to lead Zane Trace at the half.

In the third period, McClain continued to add to their lead by outscoring the Pioneers 13-7, increasing their lead to 33-24 heading into the fourth frame.

Things got interesting in the final period of play for Zane Trace behind the play of Ben Nichols as he scored seven straight points, giving the Pioneers their first lead of the second half 39-37 with around 3:00 left on the clock.

McClain answered with the long three by Badgley with 1:01 left in regulation, as that basket was the go-ahead shot the Tigers needed to win the game. MHS added free throws from Braden Wright and Camden Closson at the end for the hard-fought and exciting 44-41 non-league win.

“This is a game if Camden Closson isn’t on the floor, we don’t win,” Stewart said. “Bottom line, 41 points on defense is McClain basketball, so I’m real happy with this group of kids.”

Six Tigers made the scoring column, led by Badgley with 19 points, followed by Closson, who scored seven. Saunders and Wright finished with six points each. Kendyll Toney finished with four points, and Wesley Potts rounded out the scoring for McClain with two points.

Ben Nichols led Zane Trace with 12 points all coming in the second half, followed by Nalin Robinson, who scored 10.

McClain plays again on Saturday, Dec. 7 when they will go on the road for a non-conference game against Vinton County. The game originally scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6 at home against the Washington Blue Lions has been postponed to a later date due to COVID-19 quarantine for Washington.