The Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs dropped a hard-fought SHAC contest to the West Union Dragons on their home floor 79-69 on Friday night.
The game began in exciting fashion for the Mustangs. After allowing a three-point field goal on the first possession of the game, Mustang senior Eric McLaughlin was on the receiving end of a beautifully executed lob for a thunderous slam. After trailing by as many as eight in the opening period, the Mustangs were able close the deficit a bit to go into the second tailing 20-17.
Both teams clamped down defensively in the second. Neither team could gain a rhythm on offense and struggled at times to execute. The Mustangs were dealt a tough blow when McLaughlin was whistled for his third foul but continued to hang around. A Dragons three-point field goal to close the half put them up by five with the score 34-29 heading to the locker room.
The Dragons once again found their rhythm from behind the arc in the third to stretch their lead to as many as 13 at one point. The Mustangs found it tough sledding when McLaughlin picked up his fourth foul and was forced to sit and continued their cold spell from the field. With a comfortable lead, the Dragons took a 51-40 lead to the fourth and final period.
The fourth quarter was one full of offense. The teams continued trading baskets and unfortunately for the Mustangs, McLaughlin fouled out with five minutes remaining. However, the Mustangs continued to play hard and got within four with two minutes remaining on two free throws from Damin Pierson. The Dragons found success breaking the Mustangs full court pressure to pull away late and claim a 79-69 victory on the road.
West Union: 20-14-17-28
West Union: Rothwell 5(1)-4/4-17; Kingsolver 5(1)-3/8-16; Tomlin 5(2)-0/2-16; McCarty 3(2)-3/6-15; Vogler 3(2)-1/4-13; Fuller 2/2-2
Lynchburg-Clay: McLaughlin 4(2)-4/5-18; Walker 1(4)-2/4-16; Hilt 3(2)-12; Pierson 1(1)-3/4-8; Young 1(1)-2/3-7; Smith 1-2/2-4; Conner 1-2; Croy 1-2
Spencer Michael is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.