The McClain Tigers came back from behind in the first quarter, snagged the lead and put up a defensive wall that kept the visiting Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs to nominal gains for the rest of the game, blowing the Mustangs away with a final score of 67-47 in a cross-county rivalry matchup.
Mat Barton led the Tigers with a career high 26 points, and Eric McLaughlin led scoring for the Mustangs with 26 points as well.
The Tigers were 8 for 12 from the freethrow line for 67 percent, while the Mustangs converted 10 out of 14 for 71 percent from the line.
Lynchburg’s Eric McLaughlin took no prisoners in the first quarter, shooting two threes in the first two and a half minutes of the game and leading scoring for both teams in the period. The Mustangs made an offensive surge in the first half of the quarter, leading by as many as 5 points. Mat Barton brought the score to a tie at 2:10 with a long three that put 9-9 on the scoreboard. McLaughlin took the lead back for Lynchburg at 9-11 with a quick 2-point shot at the one-minute mark, but a freethrow from Jacob Starkey and a blazing fast 2-pointer from Dalton Mischal in the last three seconds took the McClain boys into the lead at 12-11 for the first quarter. The Tigers kept the lead for the rest of the game.
The second quarter saw McClain put up a strong defense while Mischal and Barton pushed through the Mustangs with several shots. By the half, the Mustangs had improved their lead to 7 points at 29-22. Barton led scoring for both teams in the period, making two 3-point shots and a 2-pointer.
Things continued to go downhill for the Mustangs in the third quarter. The Tigers only allowed their visitors 7 points in the period (all by McLaughlin) while scoring 17 for themselves, improving their lead by 10 points. By the buzzer, the scoreboard favored McClain at 46-29. Barton led scoring for both teams with 9 points in the quarter.
The Tigers secured the win in the fourth quarter with a 21-point gain against Lynchburg’s 18 points. Jacob Starkey and McLaughlin led their teams in scoring with 10 points apiece. In the end, the Mustangs just couldn’t come back. McClain ran away with a 20-point victory at 67-47.
“It’s amazing how when you talk defensively, that carries over,” said McClain head coach Jesse Mitchell. “Tonight, we talked and we rebounded… I thought Mat handled the ball well and made some good decisions. He’s doing a good job at being a leader vocally, and that goes a long way. He’s been really talking to Dalton and helping him, so Dalton made some plays and slowed down a little bit. Good for him.”
“We didn’t guard well,” said Lynchburg-Clay head coach Matt Carson. “I thought there were times when we didn’t really execute what we wanted to defensively. We played hard in spurts, we just need to make better decisions at times… Credit to [McClain], they came out and defended their home court.”
McClain — 12 17 17 21 — 67
Lynchburg-Clay — 11 11 7 18 — 47
MHS: Duncan 1/2-1; O’Connor 1-2/2-4; Starkey 10-1/2-21; Barton 4(4)-6/6-26; Mischal 5(1)-0/2-13; Rickman 1-2
LCHS: McLaughlin 2(6)-4/6-26; Hilt (3)-9; Croy 1/2-1; Lindsay (1)-3; Lampkin (1)-3/4-6; Stroop 1-2
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.