The McClain Lady Tigers got a game-high 30 points from junior point guard Shania Massie and withstand some early foul trouble to defeat Crooksville 51-36 Monday night at Waverly H.S. in the district semi-finals.
Massie was almost un-stoppable in the opening quarter when she accounted for 12 of McClain’s 16 points scored.
“I thought we got off to a great start tonight and Shania (Massie) showed why she is the best player in the district,” McClain Coach Jarrod Haines said after the game “She really took over the game and was huge for us.”
The Lady Tigers looked great both offensively and defensively in the first quarter and jumped out to a double-digit advantage 16-7. But things quickly changed in the second after some foul difficulties by McClain inside and the Lady Ceramics were able to get back into the ballgame, even taking the lead 19-18 midway through the period after converting four straight free-throws.
McClain was able to tie the game 21-21 at the intermission after Massie connected on her third three ball of the game giving her 15 points at the break to lead all scorers.
“Foul trouble kind of plagued us there in the second quarter when we had some trouble guarding them down low,” Haines said “We knew we would have trouble matching up with them in man because the VanMeter and Derwacter girls are both pretty good.”
Another big factor for Crooksville getting back into the contest was when they went to a 2-1-2 zone in the second period which was very effective in shutting down the Lady Tigers dribble penetration. The Lady Ceramics out-scored McClain 14-5 in the second with most coming from the foul-line where they converted 8 of 9 free-throws.
The Lady Tigers started the third quarter with a lot of the same energy they began the game with and quickly grabbed the lead 26-21 after a bucket inside by Tara Karnes and another trifecta by Massie her fourth of the ballgame. Taylor Polley drilled a three on McClain’s next possession and after Massie hit a free throw the Lady Tigers led 30-23.
The 9-2 spurt was the result of an aggressive full-court trapping defense that the Lady Tigers came out of the locker-room with that forced several turnovers resulting into some easy lay-ups. McClain would go on to out-score the Lady Ceramics 20-7 in the third period and lead 41-28 entering the fourth.
“After getting into a little foul trouble down low we decided to come out with some zone in the second half and it really worked for us,” said Haines “It seemed like Shania would get a big bucket then Taylor would come up with a big defensive stop.”
Senior Katy Unger also seemed to give the Lady Tigers a lift early in the third when she had back to back scores inside which helped to give McClain some breathing room. The Lady Tigers continued to pull away in the final stanza as a result of their smothering pressure defense along with a 4 for 4 performances at the charity stripe.
“Maybe we got out to too good of a start tonight because it kind of went away from us for a little bit,” Haines concluded “But we challenged our kids at halftime and they really came out with a great second half start and never looked back.”
McClain improves to 14-7 with the victory and will now play in the district finals against the winner of the Chesapeake Wellston game at Waverly H.S. beginning at 7 p.m.
Individual scoring for McClain, Massie 30, Polley 7, Karnes 6, Unger 4, and Sarah Thompson 2.
Crooksville finishes the season at 9-13 and was led by Shelbi VanMeter who scored 15 points.