As the no. 9 seeded McClain Tigers (6-17) came into Wednesday night’s game, they were the clear underdog against the no. 1 Unioto. Not only was Unioto the top seed in the tournament, they were also ranked fifth in the state in the latest Associated High School basketball poll. For a while during the game, it looked as if the the underdog would be able to pull off the upset victory, but in the end, the Sherman Tanks of Unioto held off the Tigers to win 43-28.
The Tigers stuck with the Unioto team throughout the night, never letting the chance to take a victory get too far out of sight.
In the first quarter, the Tigers were able to come out firing on all cylinders and take a 7-5 lead on their state ranked opponents. In the second frame, McClain continued to match Unioto in all aspects of the game and even though they were outscored in the quarter, went into the locker room down only one point, 16-15.
In the quarter after the half, all off McClain’s scoring came from two players; Zach Peck and Randall Mischal. Mischal opened the scoring for the Tigers with a long three point basket at the 5:54 mark to give his team a 18-17 lead. Peck followed that basket up with a two pointer to allow the Tigers to jump out to a 20-17 lead. From that point on, it was Peck matching the Unioto team basket for basket and with 27 second left, the game was tied. Not to be outdone in the quarter, Unioto made a basket with one second remaining to take a two point lead into the final frame.
The fourth was where everything fell apart for the Tigers. They were only able to put up two points in the final eight minutes from two made free throws while Unioto scored their highest total in a quarter on the night dropping 15 points to jump ahead and send the Tigers home with a loss with a final of 43-28.
“We didn’t play a lot of guys tonight and they kind of ran out of gas,” said Tigers Head Coach Jesse Mitchell after the game. “We stuck to the game plan tonight. [Uniot missed some shots but so did we. For us to win tonight, we were going to have to make those shots. I thought we didn’t back down inside. I thought that was the key. We just came up on the short end of the stick tonight.
“I’m just proud of the kids. I have three seniors; Cody Hardesty, Alex Hollar, Randy Mischal. They kind of built the foundation of what we’re trying to do.
MHS – 7 8 11 2 – 28
UHS – 5 11 12 15 – 43
McClain: Peck 4 1/2 – 9; Starkey 3 2/9 – 8; Mischal 2(1) – 7; Hardesty 1 1/2 – 3; Barton 1/2 – 1. Totals: 10(1) 5/15 – 28.
Unioto: Hosley 5 2/4 – 12; Hill 4 1/2 – 9; Kennedy (3) 0/1 – 9; White (1) 1/3 – 4; Edler 3/4 – 3; Swackhammer 2/2 – 2; Fisher 1 – 2; Wheeler 1 0/1 – 2. Totals: 11(4) 9/16 – 43.
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.