Skip to main content

Poised Tigers top Lions

Lead Summary

     LEESBURG - In a game of ups and downs for both squads, the see-saw Highland County battle Tuesday night had a bit of everything mixed in, but it was the McClain Tigers who kept their poise, took the open shots and gained a 65-52 non-league win against Highland County rival Fairfield.

     "The biggest thing for us was we didn't get rattled," McClain head coach Brent Eaton said. "Fairfield made a lot of shots, a lot of good shots, with hands in their faces."

     Each team produced strong scoring runs in the first 16 minutes of play, but the tone of the game changed with 3:23 left in the third quarter with Fairfield junior Chris Cox being charged with his fourth foul, and the Lions then being charged with two technical fouls in the second half. The Tigers took advantage of the misfortunes of the Lions as MHS led by nine points after three quarters.

     McClain entered the third leading by three points, but the Lions chopped it down to one point with the quarter's opening bucket. McClain senior Lucas Polley came back with points to make it a five-point game at 36-31 with 5:48 left in the third.

     Cox answered with points of his own, but it was the Tigers who continued to pressure the Lions with put back points from L.T. Walters, then putting the Lions in foul trouble.

     Polley then took a charge, and in the process the Lions were charged with another foul, allowing MHS to get two free throws, which both were knocked down by Kameron Mace at the 2:49 mark of the third.

     Walters followed with a jumper and Matracia made consecutive inside baskets to extend the Tigers' lead to 46-33 at the 1:03 mark of the third. The 10-0 run by McClain was stopped with points from Fairfield's Cody Tolle. Cameron Rolark brought the Lions within nine points of the Tigers with the final points of the quarter.

     "We lost our composure," Fairfield head coach Matt Carson said. "I told the guys at the half not to worry about things they couldn't control, but we didn't do a good job of that (Tuesday)."

     Both teams went basket for basket to start the final quarter. With 5:45 remaining in regulation Cox sank a 3-pointer to bring the Lions within six points of tying the game. Cox led the Lions with 18 points.

     Polley put the Lions down in double digits with four straight points to make the score 54-44. 

     With 4:30 remaining in the game the Lions had another technical foul and Mace, once again, took advantage and sank both free throws.

     Caleb Gregory put the Tigers ahead 58-46 with points at the 3:33 mark of the final quarter. Fairfield's Casey Jordan scored at the 2:48 mark and with .52 left in the game Brandon Carmean sank a bucket for the Lions.

     "Chris got into foul trouble in the second half and Alex (Henson) fouled out," Carson said. "Then the wheels fell off."

     The game for the Lions in the second half was mirror opposite than the first half as they led for a majority of the opening 16 minutes of play.

     In the game's opening minutes Rolark made it 4-0, including one bucket with the assist from Ian Adams, who found the open Rolark while on the ground.

     Polley made an old-fashioned three-point play with the layup under pressure and ensuing free throw.

     Mace connected twice from the foul line after Cox sank a jumper from the corner.

     Then it was all Henson. The 5-11 senior went on a scoring spree, knocking down 10 straight points in a span of just over two minutes. He started his personal attack on the basket with a 3-pointer, followed with inside points and another 3-pointer. Henson then made a layup. Rolark made a put back shot to give the Lions a 18-5 lead with 2:19 left in the first quarter. Henson finished the game with 14 points.

     Walters broke up the 12-0 run by the Lions at the 1:37 mark. That was the start of the Tigers rallying to end the first with consecutive buckets from Logan Wise (a 3-pointer), Zack Mullikin and Polley. Polley's points was another three-point play with less than a second left on the clock.

     Matracia brought the Tigers within two of FHS early in the second, and Polley tied the game at 19 with 6:15 left in the first half. Polley led all scorers with 19 points. 

     Mace sank a 3-pointer later in the second to put MHS ahead 22-21. The Tigers never relinquished the lead after the Mace 3-pointer with 5:59 left in the second. Mace finished with 16 points.

     After not making any 3-pointers in their previous game, Eaton said his team focused on getting the right shot if they were going to shoot the 3-ball.

     "We said if it wasn't an inside out attempt at a 3-pointer we weren't going to take it," Eaton said.

     The bench for the Tigers also came up strong in the non-league victory.

     "We had some foul trouble, but Cameron Cooper and Scott Balzer came in and gave us good minutes," Eaton said. "L.T. Waters was also huge off the bench for us," Eaton said.

     "Zach Matracia rebounded well and not only scored points for us, but guarded their best player very well."

     Walters and Matracia led MHS in rebounding. Walters gained eight rebounds and Matracia finished with six. MHS gained a total of 22 boards. FHS grabbed 18 rebounds. The Lions had 24 turnovers, MHS finished with 21.

     The win puts the Tigers at 4-3 overall. FHS falls to 4-3.

     Both teams will be back in action Saturday at the Patriot Center when the Lions face the Washington Blue Lions and the Tigers take on Lynchburg-Clay.




MHS - 15 17 14 19 - 65

FHS - 18 11 8 15 - 52


MHS (65)

Mace 0 (2) 10-12 16, Wise 0 (1) 3, Balzer 1 2, Polley 6 7-8 19, Gregory 1 1-2 3, Walters 5 0-1 10, Matracia 4 2-2 10, Mullikin 0 2-2 2. TOTALS: 17 (3) 22-29 65.

FHS (52)

Adams 1 2, Rolark 5 10, Casey 1 2, Ferrell 1 2, Henson 3 (2) 2-4 14, Cox 6 (1) 3-5 18, Tolle 0 2-2 2, Rolark 1 2. TOTALS: 18 (3) 7-12 52.


[[In-content Ad]]

Add new comment

This is not for publication.
This is not for publication.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it. Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.