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Lady Tigers beat FAC foe Miami Trace

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
McClain senior Haylee Havens drives past a Miami Trace player during Saturday's game in Greenfield. (HCP Photos/Jim Jones)
By
Jim Jones, The Highland County Press

The McClain girls varsity basketball team picked up their first Frontier Athletic Conference win of the season and improved to 2-1 overall after defeating Miami Trace, 45-37 Saturday afternoon in Greenfield.

Freshman point guard Paisley Pryor led McClain’s offensive scoring attack with a game-high 20 points, which included converting 9-of-10 free throws. Senior Kaitlyn Jett also had an excellent all-around game, scoring nine points while running the offense, and was outstanding defensively.

“I was really impressed with Paisley tonight,” said McClain head coach Shania Massie. “She shows so much potential, and Kaitlyn, who’s assuming a different role this year, came in and hit some big shots and did a great job of taking care of the ball.”

McClain started quickly and jumped out to a big 11-1 lead after senior Haylee Havens drained a long three with two minutes remaining in the opening period and led 13-5 after the horn sounded. Havens led McClain with five points in the quarter, followed by fellow senior Lily Barnes, who added four.

The Lady Tigers increased their advantage to 15-5 to begin the second period after Pryor converted a stick-back basket inside and still led 19-12 after she scored on a fast-break bucket at the 4:00 mark, but this is when things started to unravel some for McClain.

Miami Trace closed out the frame with a little 9-4 run of their own and pulled to within two points at the half, 23-21. Another key for the Lady Panthers in the quarter was that they switched from man-to-man defense to zone, and McClain had some problems scoring against it.

“I thought we struggled a little bit there in the second quarter offensively after they switched to a zone, and at halftime, we talked about what we needed to do and our girls came out strong in the third and fourth quarters and executed our offense much better against it,” Massie said.

The Lady Panthers took their only lead of the game 24-23 to start the third period after a long trifecta by Jessee Stewart. but that was quickly matched moments later by McClain senior Luca Matesic, who nailed a long three of her own to put the Lady Tigers back on top, 26-24.

McClain continued to pull away the rest of the period and outscored Miami Trace 19-12 and extended their advantage to a little more comfortable 42-33 count. Jett was the big scorer in the frame for McClain with seven points, with six coming on two long balls from behind the line. Pryor also joined Matesic and Jett with a big 3-pointer in the period.

The fourth period saw both teams struggle offensively with neither team scoring over the first four minutes until the Lady Panthers broke the ice with 3:30 remaining in regulation.

Pryor had McClain’s only points in the fourth when she made 3-of-4 charity tosses after the Lady Panthers were forced to foul.

The Lady Tigers did an excellent job down the stretch of running a spread offense, using up several minutes on the clock while controlling the basketball.

“I’m proud of my girls with the way they came out with a lot of intensity tonight,” Massie said. “We had a lot of focus Thursday and Friday in practice and fixed some things that we really struggled with in last week’s game against Jackson.

“I was also impressed with how well we shot free throws tonight. I think it was 91 percent as a team, and that’s really good.”

McClain (2-1) travels to Chillicothe on Wednesday, Dec. 6 for another tough FAC battle.

Individual scoring for McClain: Paisley Pryor 20, Kaitlyn Jett 9, Haylee Havens 5, Lily Barnes 4, Anna Eikenberry 4 and Luca Matesic 3. 3-point field goals-Pryor 3, Jett 2 and Matesic 1. The Lady Tigers made 10-of-11 free-throws for 91 percent.

Miami Trace (2-2) was led in scoring by Gracie Lovett, who had a team-high 16 points.