WASHINGTON C.H. — On a drizzly, mild first day of the last month of 2021, the Washington Lady Lions hosted the McClain Lady Tigers for a Frontier Athletic Conference match-up.
In a defensive battle (and, consequently an offensive struggle), McClain rallied in the fourth quarter to post a 29-25 victory.
Washington junior Natalie Woods was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points. She connected for three three-point field goals, two two-point baskets and was 3 of 6 from the free throw line. Woods led her team in rebounds with six.
McClain senior Iva Easter was her team’s leading scorer with 11 points.
In this low-scoring game, Washington made just four two point buckets. It hit four threes.
McClain made seven twos and one three point field goal.
Taking those points into account, Washington had 20 points to McClain’s 17.
However, at the free throw line McClain made 12 of 19 attempts to 5 of 8 for the Lady Lions.
McClain held a 9-4 lead until Woods hit a three at the buzzer, putting the score at 9-7 after eight minutes of action.
The Lady Tigers led by as many as four points in the second quarter. By the intermission, the game was tied, 14-14.
Woods hit another three and Estep hit two free throws that gave Washington a 19-15 lead.
After McClain tied the score, Mongold had an offensive rebound and basket to make it 21-19 Washington at the end of the third quarter.
A free throw by Woods made it 22-19, Washington, but from that juncture forward McClain outscored the Lady Lions, 10-3, to post the 29-25 victory.
“I think ultimately it just came down to our lack of execution,” Washington head coach Samantha Bihl said. “Also rebounding and taking care of the ball. Those are two things we know we need to take care of every game. Tonight, we just didn’t do it. Especially in the moments that mattered the most, when we needed to get that rebound, when we needed to take care of the ball, we failed to execute those two things.
“Overall, our kids played great defense. Our half-court defense was really solid. They’re bigger than us and I felt we defended their post really well. We just didn’t box out and take care of the ball and that hurt us in the long run.
McClain coach Jarrod Haines said, “We went to a half-court trap and I thought that really helped us out. It got them out of sync in their offense. We went stagnant on the offensive end, but our defense kind of played into our offense. Lucky enough for us we can get out of here with a win.”
Haines spoke about his team’s free throw shooting.
“We still need to shoot way better than that and we know that,” Haines said. “We practice them. Last year we were really good at shooting free throws, this year we’re struggling here early. We’ll be alright. The free throw line won it for us today. We just couldn’t get the ball to go in the basket.”
Taking a look at the unofficial shooting statistics, McClain made 8 of 36 shots for 22 percent. Washington made 8 of 34 for 24 percent.
Washington is now 2-3 overall, 0-2 in the FAC.
McClain (improving to 2-2 overall, 1-1 in the FAC) returns to action with a non-league game at Waverly Saturday. The jayvee game is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
In other FAC action Wednesday, Miami Trace defeated Jackson, 42-39.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 7 7 7 4 — 25
Mc 9 5 5 10 — 29
WASHINGTON — Aaralyne Estep 0-2-2; Allie Mongold 1 (1)-0-5; Trinity George 0-0-0; Alizae Ryan 1-0-2; Natalie Woods 2 (3)-3-16; Megan Sever 0-0-0. TOTALS — 4 (4)-5-25. Free throw shooting: 5 of 8 for 63 percent. Three-point field goals: Woods, 3; Mongold. Field goal shooting: 8 of 34 for 24 percent. Turnovers: 27. Steals: 9. Assists: 7. Rebounds: 28 (11 offensive).
McCLAIN — Evelyn Vanzant 1 (1)-2-7; Lindsey Hutchinson 0-0-0; Kenzie Wise 0-0-0; Payton Pryor 2-0-4; Iva Easter 4-3-11; Jaden McCoy 0-2-2; Haylee Havens 0-4-4; Kaitlyn Jett 0-0-0; Lily Barnes 0-1-1; Madi Sykes 0-0-0. TOTALS — 7 (1)-12-29. Free throw shooting: 12 of 19 for 63 percent. Three-point field goal: Vanzant. Field goal shooting: 8 of 36 for 22 percent. Turnovers: 15.
Chris Hoppes is the sports editor for the Record-Herald in Washington C.H.