GREENFIELD — Emerging from quarantine, the Miami Trace Panthers varsity basketball team returned to the hardwood court Friday at McClain High School to take on the Tigers.
In a game where neither team shot the ball well — the Panthers having practiced once in the last couple of weeks — McClain prevailed in a struggle between longtime rivals, 38-32.
For the Tigers, senior Camden Closson and junior Braden Wright shared the game lead, both with 10 points. Wright had a double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds. Junior Kendyll Toney scored eight points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Junior Preston Saunders led the Tigers with three assists and two steals to go along with eight points.
Senior Braden Osborne led Miami Trace in scoring with 10 points. He also shared the team lead in rebounds with senior Ethan Steele, each with seven.
McClain won the battle of the boards, 33 to 27.
Miami Trace led 2-0, 5-2 and 8-5 in the first quarter before McClain took a 9-8 lead after eight minutes of action.
The Tigers managed to score just five points in the second quarter to eight for the Panthers, giving Miami Trace a 16-14 lead in the low-scoring first half of play.
The turning point came in the third quarter as the Panthers were outscored by McClain, 11-4.
The game was tied for what proved to be the final time, 20-20, with 1:39 to play in the third quarter. After three complete, McClain was in front, 25-20.
McClain was in the midst of a 12-0 run that began late in the third quarter and carried over until the 2:45 mark of the fourth when Osborne scored to break the run that saw the Tigers go in front by as many as 12 points.
The Panthers scored seven unanswered points to pull to within five, at 32-27, with 1:42 left to play in the game.
Bernard hit his final three-point basket of the game to cut McClain’s lead with 36-32 with 27 seconds remaining.
Two final free throws by the Tigers put the ending score at 38-32.
“The way the kids embraced the pace and the play that we had to have against a really big Miami Trace team without Bryson (Badgley),” McClain coach Joe B. Stewart said. “This was a heck of a win with a lot of big plays along the way. We had a script and we needed to stick to it and boy, they did it. Hillsboro stuck one on us (a 54-34 victory by the Indians over the Tigers on Jan. 19) and these kids bounced back humble and hungry. (We played) good defense and (had) good choices by our kids. We made big plays at big times.”
“I thought during that little stretch in the third quarter that we looked like a basketball team that had had one practice in two weeks,” Miami Trace coach Rob Pittser said. “And that was yesterday. It’s tough to ask kids who haven’t been in the gym for two weeks and then have one day where you really can’t do much in that one day. Then you come into this intense environment with a team that really, really plays aggressive defense. I thought that drought we had in the third quarter was all about our guys’ legs. You can’t really replicate game speed. Our guys’ legs were wobbly; you could tell we were having a hard time making shots.”
Recognizing Bryson Badgley
During the pregame introductions, McClain junior Badgley stepped out onto center court and received a nice ovation from all of the folks in attendance. Badgley was injured in the game at Hillsboro and will miss the remainder of the season.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 8 8 4 12 — 32
Mc 9 5 11 13 — 38
MIAMI TRACE — Braden Osborne 4-2-10; Dylan Bernard 0 (3)-0-9; Hayden Hunter 1 (1)-2-7; Isaiah Reisinger 0 (1)-1-4; Ethan Steele 1-0-2; Cameron Moore 0-0-0; Andrew Guthrie 0-0-0; Keegan Terry 0-0-0. TOTALS — 6 (5)-5-32. Free throw shooting: 5 of 7 for 71 percent. Three-point field goals: Bernard, 3; Hunter, Reisinger. Field goal shooting: 11 of 42 for 26 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 23 for 21 percent. Rebounds: 27 (9 offensive). Assists: 9. Steals: 4. Blocked shots: 5. Turnovers: 12. Personal fouls: 19. Bench points: 18. Second chance points: 5. Points off turnovers: 0.
McCLAIN — Braden Wright 4-2-10; Camden Closson 0 (3)-1-10; Kendyll Toney 2-4-8; Preston Saunders 2 (1)-1-8; Lyle White 0-2-2; Wesley Potts 0-0-0. TOTALS — 8 (4)-10-38. Free throw shooting: 10 of 18 for 55 percent. Three-point field goals: Closson, 3; Saunders. Field goal shooting: 12 of 43 for 27 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 26 for 25 percent. Rebounds: 33 (12 offensive). Assists: 9. Steals: 6. Blocked shots: 1. Turnovers: 8. Personal fouls: 12. Bench points: 2. Second chance points: 3. Points off turnovers: 7.
Chris Hoppes is the sports editor at the Record-Herald in Washington C.H.