It was the final game between the Miami Trace Lady Panthers and McClain Lady Tigers to ever be played in the Panther Pit.
Miami Trace will be moving into their new high school sometime next year and the venerable, old Panther Pit, site of so many great sporting events over the last six decades, will, at some point, be no more.
The Lady Panthers, ranked No. 7 in the State in Division II by the Associated Press, defeated a scrappy McClain squad, 62-38.
Miami Trace senior Tanner Bryant was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points. Bryant also led her team with nine rebounds.
Senior Victoria Fliehman scored 12 points and was second on the team in rebounds with four.
Junior Cassidy Lovett and sophomore Shay McDonald both had 10 points for the Lady Panthers.
Freshman Kyla Burchett led the Lady Tigers with 12 points.
Freshman Emma Stegbauer had seven points and freshman Jaelyn Pitzer scored six for the young Lady Tigers team.
“McClain came out and gave us their best shot early,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “Their kids are continuing to grow and get better. The credit goes to them.
“It’s our second game in 18 days,” Ackley said. “I didn’t think we were as crisp as we should have been early. That’s to be expected. I think McClain hit their first five or six shots, some long-distance shots. I thought our kids kept their composure and held in there.
“I thought our pressure in the second quarter began to have an effect,” Ackley said. “I thought Shay McDonald tonight was incredible. She made a couple of diagonal passes in transition and I’m not sure who else could make those passes.
“Vic and Tanner did what they do,” Ackley said. “They were very consistent and made shots when they needed to. When we have four players in double figures it makes us awfully tough to stop.
“Olivia Wolffe gave us great minutes as well,” Ackley said. “You can’t underestimate what she gives us out on the floor.”
“We were fearless there in the beginning,” McClain head coach Jarrod Haines said. “I’m super proud of my kids. I told them before the game, ‘we’re turning a corner here in the season and we have to start putting three, three-and-a-half consistent quarters together.
“Tonight, we put about two, two-and-a-half,” Haines said. “Whenever you’re going up against a team that’s putting two one-thousand point scorers on the floor (Victoria Fliehman and Tanner Bryant) there are tough match-ups. I had freshmen guarding them. I started three freshmen and two juniors.
“I thought Hannah Smith (a senior) came in and played a whale of a game,” Haines said. “With Victoria Fliehman and Tanner Bryant on the floor, they can hurt you and they did. And the pressure that (Cassidy) Lovett puts on the point guard, it’s tough to manage. I thought Emma did a pretty good job of bringing the ball up the floor when Maddy (Stegbauer) had a lot of pressure.
“We’re young, we’re competing and we’re not scared,” Haines said. “We came out and played really well and did some good things and that’s all we ask.”
Miami Trace (13-1) will be back at home Saturday to take on the No. 3 team in the State in Division III, Ottawa Glandorf.
McClain will host Chillicothe for a varsity only match-up at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 11 15 19 17 — 62
Mc 16 4 7 11 — 38
MIAMI TRACE — Olivia Wolffe 0-0-0; Cassidy Lovett 4-2-10; Becca Ratliff 1-0-2; Aubrey McCoy 0-0-0; Shay McDonald 3 (1)-1-10; Tori Evans 0 (1)-2-5; Olivia Fliehman 1-3-5; Victoria Fliehman 3 (1)-3-12; Tanner Bryant 8-0-16; Aubrey Schwartz 0-0-0; Gracee Stewart 0-0-0; Morgan Miller 1-0-2. TOTALS — 21 (3)-11-62. Free throw shooting: 11 of 15 for 73 percent. Three-point field goals: McDonald, Evans, V. Fliehman. Combined field goal shooting: 24 of 55 for 44 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 3 of 15 for 20 percent. Rebounds: 22 (8 offensive). Turnovers: 11. Assists: 12. Steals: 10.
McCLAIN — Maddy Stegbauer 0-4-4; Cierra Bolendar 0-0-0; Emma Stegbauer 2-3-7; Macie Adams 1-0-2; Hunter Scott 0-0-0; Kyla Burchett 1 (2)-4-12; Bryn Karnes 1-2-4; Hannah Smith 1-1-3; Mikenzie Coleman 0-0-0; Jaelyn Pitzer 0 (2)-0-6. TOTALS — 6 (4)-14-38. Free throw shooting: 14 of 20 for 70 percent. Three-point field goals: Burchett, 2; Pitzer, 2. Combined field goal shooting: 10 of 27 for 37 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 9 for 44 percent. Turnovers: 23. Offensive rebounds: 6.
Chris Hoppes is the Sports Editor for the Record-Herald in Washington Court House.