GREENFIELD — On a misty, dreary Saturday, Dec. 15, the Washington Lady Blue Lions visited McClain High School to take on the Lady Tigers in a battle of two teams undefeated in the early going of the Frontier Athletic Conference.
Washington played arguably its best defensive game of the season as they came away with a 47-18 victory.
Washington now stands atop the FAC standings at 4-0.
McClain is now tied for second with Miami Trace, both at 3-1.
This was a rough and sometimes tumble game with many players from both sides finding themselves on the floor from time to time.
Washington senior Bre Taylor was the game’s leading scorer with 17 points.
Senior Hannah Haithcock and junior Rayana Burns each scored 11 points for Washington.
Senior Kelli Uhrig led McClain in scoring with seven points. She hit the game’s only two three-point field goals.
McClain junior Cierra Bolendar was next in scoring for the home team with five points.
McClain (6-0 entering the contest) could never get into a comfort zone, offensively and a lot of that must be credited to Washington’s defense.
The Lady Tigers converted 6 of 31 field goal attempts for 19 percent.
Washington made 17 of 44 shot attempts for 39 percent.
The Lady Lions made 6 of 15 shots in the first quarter to 1 of 7 for McClain, taking a 12-4 lead.
The second quarter was the closest of the game, with Washington making 3 of 10 shot attempts to 2 of 8 for McClain. Washington scored 8 points to 4 in the second quarter to take a 20-8 half time lead.
Washington went a long way toward putting the game out of reach with a 10-0 run to start the third quarter.
The Lady Lions held a 30-8 lead until Uhrig scored with 3:37 to play in the period.
The visitors from Fayette County held a 33-11 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Both teams had their best offensive output in the fourth quarter.
Washington scored 14 points to 7 for McClain.
At one juncture, Washington held a 28-point lead and later once led by as many as 31 points with 4:09 remaining in the ball game.
Bolendar sank two free throws at the end to set the final score at 47-18.
WVNU radio had Washington out-rebounding McClain, 31-17.
Shawna Conger had seven rebounds, Taylor had six (including four offensive), Haithcock had six and Woods had three. Taylor also led Washington with four steals.
“Rebounding is something we’ve started to focus in on,” Washington head coach Samantha Leach said. “It was something we knew we needed to improve on. Last year in the District finals game, Sheridan out-rebounded us and it was a weakness for us. It’s something we work on every day and I just felt like our girls did an excellent job, especially on the offensive end.
“I think I’m most impressed with our effort on the defensive end, holding a very good McClain team to under 20 points,” Leach said. “My girls really played hard. They were on the floor for the 50/50 balls. Everyone stepped up today. We were down one of our starters (as was McClain) and we had to have some kids step up and we did. Tabby Woods started for us today and did an excellent job, putting pressure on the ball, creating some turnovers.
“Bre Taylor stepped up tremendously today,” Leach said. “I was very proud of her effort, offensively and defensively. She got out in transition and was able to get some lay-ups by just running the floor.”
McClain head coach Jarrod Haines spoke about the physical nature of the game.
“We’re going to struggle in that kind of game with this line-up,” Haines said. “We have young guards who haven’t spent much time in the weight room. When you look at who did well for us today, it was Bryn Karnes, Kelli Uhrig and Liz Kegley (three seniors), as far as strength and being physical.
“I thought we executed the game plan that we had,” Haines said. “We limited (Shawna) Conger’s touches and we limited (Hannah) Haithcock’s touches. We didn’t pack the paint like we wanted to. I thought defensively we had a decent effort, we just have to score. We’ll be fine.”
Washington (4-2 overall, 4-0 FAC) will play at Leesburg against the Fairfield Lions Wednesday with the j-v game starting at 5:30 p.m.
McClain (6-1 overall, 3-1 FAC) will play at former SCOL opponent Clinton-Massie Wednesday and complete the first round of the FAC schedule at Hillsboro Saturday at noon.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 12 8 13 14 — 47
Mc 4 4 3 7 — 18
WASHINGTON — Rayana Burns 5-1-11; Bre Taylor 7-3-17; Kassidy Hines 0-0-0; Tabby Woods 1-2-4; Shawna Conger 1-2-4; Maddy Jenkins 0-0-0; Hannah Haithcock 3-5-11; Abby Tackage 0-0-0; Jeleeya Tyree-Smith 0-0-0. TOTALS – 17-13-47. Free throw shooting: 13 of 18 for 72 percent. Three-point field goals: None. Field goal shooting: 17 of 44 for 39 percent. Turnovers: 9.
McCLAIN — Cierra Bolendar 1-3-5; Jaelyn Pitzer 0-0-0; Macie Adams 0-0-0; Kelli Uhrig 1 (2)-0-7; Kyla Burchett 0-0-0; Bryn Karnes 1-1-3; Liz Kegley 1-0-2; Emma Stegbauer 0-0-0; Brianna Weller 0-1-1. TOTALS — 4 (2)-5-18. Free throw shooting: 5 of 9 for 55 percent. Three-point field goals: Uhrig, 2. Field goal shooting: 6 of 31 for 19 percent. Turnovers: 17.
Chris Hoppes is the Sports Editor for the Record-Herald in Washington Court House.