McClain dropped their fifth Frontier Athletic Conference boys basketball game of the season on Tuesday at home when they lost to the visiting Washington Blue Lions by a score of 47-40.
The Tigers controlled the game until Washington turned up the defense with 6:50 to play in the fourth quarter. From that point on the Blue Lions outscored McClain 11-2 to close out the game.
Tigers head coach Jesse Mitchell said after the game, “They turned up the pressure and we freaked out. That was the story of the night.”
McClain was led in scoring by Devin Carter as he tallied 10 points on the night to help the Tigers control the majority of the game.
The Blue Lions got stellar performances from Dillon Steward and Evan Upthegrove who scored 11 and 15 points respectively to lead the Fayette County natives to a hard fought victory.
Both teams played a sloppy brand of basketball on Tuesday night as the Tigers turned the ball over 19 times and the Blue Lions kept pace with 17 0f their own.
The first quarter was a back and forth affair as both teams struggled to figure out the opposing defense resulting in a low scoring 10-8 first quarter in favor of the Tigers.
McClain looked like they would blow the game wide open early in the second quarter when they starter with an 11-3 run to take a 21-11 advantage and forced the Blue Lions to call time out with 1:48 to play in the first half. Following the timeout the Blue Lions closed the half on a 6-0 run of their own to climb with four points at 21-17 heading into halftime.
McClain once again looked like world beaters to start the second half as they built a 10 point lead at 36-26. However, the Blue Lions refused to go away and quickly narrowed the gap to four points courtesy of two monster triples by Upthegrove in the last minute of the third quarter and sent the game to the fourth with a score of 36-32.
Washington head coach Shannon Bartruff was concerned that his kids may not be ready to play coming into the game.
“My concern was just us coming out ready to go. The passes that we were making in the first half were bad. I thought we worked on zone offense yesterday and I thought we did a pretty good job. But, it didn’t translate to the game,” said Bartruff.
The McClain Tigers will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Ironton to take on the host team in the Ironton Classic.
The Blue Lions will take the floor on Saturday when they make the short trip to Miami Trace High School to take on the cross-county and FAC rivals the Panthers.
Washington: Steward 1(3)-0/1-11; Upthegrove 4(2)-1/3-15; Matthews (2)-6; O’Flaherty1-2; Leisure 2(1)-7; Tayose 2-2/3-6
McClain: Penwell (2)-6; Duncan 3-1/1-7; Cockerill 2(1)-7; Carter 5-0/1-10; Chiossi 1-2; Gray 1-2; Banks (1)-3; Osborne (1)-3
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.