The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates brought their 13-2 record into the McClain gymnasium Monday night to challenge the Lady Tigers of Greenfield. The Lady Tigers, coming off a recent win and looking for two in a row, looked prepped and ready as they warmed up for the contest, but it was not to be.
After an unusual amount of turnovers in the first quarter and being forced to play catch-up the rest of the way, the final score found Wheelersburg winning tonight over McClain 50-43.
The Lady Tigers controlled the tip to begin the game, however, and maybe as a sign of what the first quarter would hold, after a short pass were immediately called for a backcourt violation (over and back), effectively allowing the Lady Pirates to begin the game with the ball.
McClain was able to score first at the 7:17 mark and it would prove to be their only lead of the game. The Lady Pirates scored the next three buckets before Beth Montgomery banked in a three with 4:20 left in the first. The sloppy play for Greenfield in the first quarter and the lack of shooting forced Tiger coach Jarrod Haines to call his first time out at 1:17. Each team scored once after that time out for a first quarter score of 7-13 for Wheelersburg.
In the second quarter, Wheelersburg showed their quickness and shooting efficiency, outscoring McClain 15-9 in the quarter. The quickness of Lady Pirate guards Ruby and Kallner took its toll on the lineup for Greenfield and the Tigers could not keep up.
“Wheelersburg plays hard, they play disciplined, and they have one of the fastest guards we’ll ever see (Ruby), and they do a really good job getting down the floor and she does a really good job of finding them,” said McClain head coach Jarrod Haines.
As both teams took to the locker room, the score at the half was 16-28. Neither team was completely in the driver’s seat, though, and both teams walked off the floor with their heads up with optimism.
McClain got on track in the third quarter, outscoring Wheelersburg 17-11. The Lady Tigers looked much more disciplined after some halftime evaluation, with very few turnovers in the third and fourth quarters.
Malea Montavon poured in 8 of her 13 points in the third, helping the Tigers to pull within six going into the fourth.
Scoring was almost even in the fourth quarter, with McClain scoring 10 and Wheelersburg scoring 11 for the final of 43-50 for the Lady Pirates.
Turnovers were the Achilles heel Monday night for the Lady Tigers, who take their record to 9-9 overall and 7-4 in the South Central Ohio League.
After the game, Haines reflected on his team’s miscues, saying, “The difference was in the first half, that we had too many turnovers up top and led to easy lay-ups for them.”
The McClain Lady Tigers will travel to East Clinton on Wednesday, Jan. 25, for a league matchup.
McClain — 7 9 17 10 — 43
Wheelersburg — 13 15 11 11 — 50
MHS: Montgomery 4(1)-2/3-13; Stegbauer 3-6; Malea Montavon 5(1)-0/3-13; Polley 2(1)-0/4-7; Barton 2-0/3-4
WHS: Ruby 2(1)-5-12; Kallner 3-9-15; Coleman 2(2)-2-12; Swim 3-6; Spradlin (1)-3; Akers 1-2
Mark Branham is a contributing sports writer for The Times-Gazette.