GREENFIELD — The Washington Lady Blue Lions made the trip down SR 41 to Greenfield to take on the McClain Lady Tigers in an SCOL match-up Wednesday evening.
After a strong start by McClain and a shaky beginning by Washington, the game wound up very competitive and very close as the Lady Tigers took the win, 50-46.
Washington sophomore Hannah Haithcock was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points.
Sophomore Tabby Woods and freshman Shawna Conger both had seven points and freshman Rayana Burns scored six.
The Lady Tigers had three players in double figures, led by senior Taylor Polley with 13 points.
Polley helped seal the victory for McClain, making 11 of 14 free throws for 79 percent.
Senior Malea Montavon scored 12 points and sophomore Maddy Stegbauer had 11 points. Each of these players hit one three-point basket for McClain.
The game was decided at the free throw line and in the turnover department.
First, a look at the free throw shooting.
McClain hit 18 of 28 attempts for 64 percent.
Washington was even more proficient at the line, making 13 of 17 for 76 percent.
Turnovers were costly to Washington on this night.
The Lady Lions had 22 turnovers, including eight in the first quarter and six on their first six possessions to fall behind, 8-0.
Washington had seven turnovers in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, McClain committed seven turnovers in the first half and only two in the second half.
Washington took better care of the ball in the second half, with seven total turnovers.
“I felt like we weren’t ready to play tonight from the start,” Washington head coach Samantha Leach said. “They jumped out on us and that whole first half it seemed like we were one step behind and just slow kind of slow tonight. I don’t think that we were focused.
“My girls played much better in the second half,” Leach said. “They really fought. But, we have to do something differently to make sure we are mentally prepared. It’s killed us in a few games. We’re having great second halves, but, we have to put a whole game together and, right now, we’re struggling to do that.”
McClain had built an 8-0 lead before Washington was able to take its first field goal attempt, that coming with just over four minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Lady Lions were able to outscore McClain, 8-2 in the second half of the first quarter to trail by two, 10-8 after one.
McClain had what would prove to be its best scoring quarter in the second. Washington, by contrast, had its least effective quarter at the same time. McClain outscored Washington 16-6 in the second quarter to take a 26-14 halftime lead.
“We built a lead at the half and we were finally gelling together,” McClain head coach Jarrod Haines said. “The kids were making shots. Maddy Stegbauer was huge in the first half for us. Her and Malea did a great job of leading us in the first half.
“I can’t talk enough about Beth (Montgomery) and Lexie (Barton) and Malea and Taylor’s senior leadership tonight,” Haines said. “It was evident right there at the end, when they were doubling Taylor and Malea (gets open) under the basket and (scores).
“I was telling coach (Audra) Branham going up to the locker room, kind of what we missed at the beginning of the year, in those close games, was Taylor Polley at the end of the game; controlling the game, putting her on the free throw line,” Haines said. “I’m proud of my kids.”
Washington outscored McClain in the third and fourth quarters, but it was still not enough to overcome the 12-point hole they were in at the half.
Washington outscored McClain, 13-9 in the third quarter. McClain led by as many as 14 points and as few as seven, which was the margin after three, 35-27.
The Lady Lions continued to improve offensively as the game progressed.
In the fourth quarter, Washington had 19 points to McClain’s 15.
Washington pulled to within four points, 36-32, on a three-pointer by Haithcock with five minutes to play.
McClain bumped the margin back up to seven, only to see Washington close again to within four points.
Washington turned on the full court pressure in the latter stages of the fourth, but, McClain was up to the challenge.
Specifically, it was Polley. Fouled numerous times as she weaved her way through Washington defenders, Polley hit 9 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter.
McClain got the lead again to seven points, but again, Washington was able to come down and hit some buckets on the offensive end.
Washington pulled to within three points, 47-44, with 45 seconds to play.
After two more free throws from Polley, Woods scored with nine seconds remaining to make it 49-46.
Polley hit one more free throw to make the final 50-46.
McClain’s next game is Monday at home against Wheelersburg.
Washington (5-8 overall, 3-6 SCOL) is back in action Saturday at home against Ross Southeastern with the j-v game at 1:30 p.m.
Elsewhere around the SCOL Wednesday, Wilmington beat East Clinton, 59-47, Chillicothe topped clinton-Massie, 49-25 and Miami Trace defeated Hillsboro, 65-28.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 8 6 13 19 — 46
Mc 10 16 9 15 — 50
WASHINGTON — Rayana Burns 0-6-6; Maddy Garrison 1-0-2; Bre Taylor 0-2-2; Kassidy Hines 0-0-0; Savannah Wallace 2-0-4; Tabby Woods 1 (1)-2-7; Shawna Conger 2 (1)-0-7; Maddy Jenkins 0-0-0; Hannah Haithcock 6 (1)-3-18. TOTALS — 12 (3)-13-46. Free throw shooting: 13 of 17 for 76 percent. Three-point field goals: Woods, Conger, Haithcock. Field goal shooting: 15 of 36 for 42 percent. Turnovers: 22.
McCLAIN — Beth Montgomery 2-2-6; Maddy Stegbauer 2 (1)-4-11; Malea Montavon 4 (1)-1-12; Taylor Polley 1-11-13; Kelli Uhrig 0-0-0; Lexie Barton 3-0-6; Liz Kegley 0-0-0; McKenzie Montavon 1-0-2. TOTALS — 13 (2)-18-50. Field goal shooting: 18 of 28 for 64 percent. Three-point field goals: Stegbauer, Ma. Montavon. Field goal shooting: 15 of 37 for 41 percent. Turnovers: 9.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1