Meeting for the first time as members of the new Frontier Athletic Conference, the Washington Lady Blue Lions made the familiar trip down SR 41 to take on the McClain Lady Tigers Saturday night.
In front of a good-sized holiday crowd, the Lady Lions overcame their struggles and a tenacious Lady Tigers team to post a 42-31 victory.
Washington is now 6-0 overall, 4-0 in the FAC.
McClain falls to 0-6 overall, 0-4 in the FAC.
“Greenfield is a tough place to play,” Washington head coach Samantha Leach said. “I’m really proud of my girls.”
The game was something of a struggle for both teams, as fouls accumulated quite quickly, outpacing the scoring output of both teams until those two numbers intersected and points finally totalled more than fouls called with just over five minutes to play in the second quarter.
“We had to adjust to how we were playing, defensively, we all of the calls that were being made,” Leach said. “We had to adjust, overall, our style, just a little bit.”
“We’ve played four undefeated teams,” McClain head coach Jarrod Haines said. “Our schedule is tough, but, we’re not backing down. We’re playing extremely hard. We executed the game plan pretty well tonight.
“I thought Maddy Stegbauer played a great game,” Haines said. “She shot it extremely well from the foul line.
“Bryn Karnes gave us huge minutes tonight,” Haines said. “(Hannah Smith) is a kid who hasn’t had a lot of opportunities, but she took full advantage of them today. She boxed out and did the right things. I’d like her to have a little bit more confidence on the offensive end.”
Both teams had to play through their shooting woes on this night.
McClain held a slim 2-1 lead just over six minutes into the game.
Bre Taylor hit Washington’s first bucket with 2:52 remaining in the opening period.
The Lady Tigers took an 8-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Unofficially, Washington made just 1 of 9 field goal attempts in the first quarter to 3 of 9 for McClain.
Washington tied the game with two free throws by Taylor and soon after two charity tosses from Halli Wall.
Kelli Uhrig hit a three-pointer and Maddy Stegbauer connected for a pair of free throws giving McClain their biggest lead of the evening, 13-8.
For Washington, Maddy Jenkins hit a free throw and Tabby Woods had a rebound and put-back, followed by a basket from Jenkins to pull the Lady Lions even, 13-13 with 1:31 remaining in the half.
The final tally of the first half was one free throw by Maddy Stegbauer, sending the teams off to their respective locker rooms with the host Lady Tigers in front, 14-13.
McClain hit 1 of 9 field goal attempts in the second quarter to 2 of 10 for Washington.
At the half, unofficial shooting summaries show McClain 4 of 18 for 22 percent and Washington sitting at 3 of 19 for 16 percent.
McClain had 11 turnovers at the half to 12 for Washington.
“In the first half, we were cold,” Leach said. “That’s going to happen at times. We found our rhythm later in the second half.
“We talked about how we had to continue to be patient,” Leach said. “Work the ball around and get a great shot.”
Washington took a quick lead at the start of the third quarter on a basket by Haithcock, who was the game’s leading scorer with 23 points.
Twice in the third quarter, McClain hit a three-point field goal (one by Emma Stegbauer and one by Kyla Burchett), but those were quickly negated by a pair of threes from Haithcock.
The game was tied, 27-27 at the end of three quarters of play.
“We’re a young team, an inexperienced team,” Haines said. “I think the final score doesn’t show how close this was. We were tied going into the fourth quarter with a very good basketball team. We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
The Lady Tigers did not score a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Washington fared a bit better with two buckets.
The Lady Tigers went 4 of 4 from the free throw line, eclipsed by Washington’s 11 of 14 during the final eight minutes.
Haithcock was 9 of 10 from the line in the fourth quarter (having missed one free throw attempt previously)
She scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to go along with 10 in the third quarter after being held for naught in the first half.
Bre Taylor was second for Washington in scoring with eight points.
Kyla Burchett led McClain with 11 points. Maddy Stegbauer had 10 and Emma Stegbauer added five.
“I know that we out-rebounded them,” Leach said. “I don’t know the total. Hannah had 10 rebounds (for a double-double). She came out in the second half and led our team. She did a tremendous job.”
“Haithcock is a load,” Haines said. “She’s a good basketball player.”
“We had three girls in foul trouble in the first half,” Leach said. “Everyone stepped up this evening. Everyone played big minutes for us and contributed to this win.”
“We might have been a little undersized tonight,” Haines said. “But, we did some good things. We just have to believe in ourselves a little more.”
The win by Washington sets up a showdown game for first place in the FAC at 6 p.m. Saturday at Miami Trace.
Saturday will be quite a day of basketball with five games at Miami Trace High School.
The Miami Trace boys freshman team will host Blanchester at 1:15 p.m., then the rivalry games begin with the Washington versus Miami Trace girls j-v game at 3 p.m., then the boys j-v game at 4:30 p.m., followed by the girls varsity game at 6 p.m. and the boys varsity at 7:30 p.m.
McClain will take part in the Ironton Classic Friday.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 4 9 14 15 — 42
Mc 8 6 13 4 — 31
WASHINGTON — Rayana Burns 0-1-1; Maddy Garrison 0-0-0; Bre Taylor 2-4-8; Kassidy Hines 0-2-2; Tabby Woods 1-1-3; Halli Wall 0-2-2; Maddy Jenkins 1-1-3; Hannah Haithcock 4 (2)-9-23. TOTALS — 8 (2)-20-42. Free throw shooting: 20 of 28 for 71 percent. Three-point field goals: Haithcock, 2. Field goal shooting: 11 of 42 for 26 percent. Turnovers: 17.
McCLAIN — Maddy Stegbauer 1-8-10; Emma Stegbauer 0 (1)-2-5; Macie Adams 0-0-0; Kelli Uhrig 0 (1)-0-3; Hunter Scott 0-2-2; Hannah Smith 0-0-0; Mikenzie Coleman 0-0-0; Jaelyn Pitzer 0-0-0; Kyla Burchett 1 (3)-0-11. TOTALS — 2 (5)-12-31. Free throw shooting: 12 of 15 for 80 percent. Three-point field goals: Burchett, 3; E. Stegbauer, Uhrig. Field goal shooting: 7 of 36 for 19 percent. Turnovers: 21.
Chris Hoppes is the Sports Editor for the Record-Herald in Washington Court House.