On a mild January night in Fayette County, the Washington Blue Lions welcomed the Tigers from McClain High School for a Frontier Athletic Conference encounter.
Back on Dec. 6, the Blue Lions played at McClain High School.
That game went to McClain, 42-39 in overtime.
The Tigers made no three-point field goals in that game.
Friday night, the Tigers rained down 11 threes on the Blue Lions, with four in the first quarter and two more in the second.
McClain knocked down three in the third quarter and two more in the fourth as they defeated the Blue Lions, 60-36.
Washington had two threes in the game, both coming from their leading scorer, freshman Tanner Lemaster, who scored 20 points on the night.
Junior Mitch Lotz was next in scoring for the Blue Lions with eight points.
Sophomore Bryson Badgley was the game’s leading scorer for McClain (4-8 overall, 3-3 FAC) with 23 points. He connected on six three-point field goals.
Sophomore Preston Saunders had 10 points for the Tigers, including two threes.
Junior Matt Bliss had two threes and junior Braeden Bergstrom hit one three.
“We seek to have balance inside and outside,” McClain head coach Joe B. Stewart said. “Our first two opportunities were going at the rim. That opens us up on the perimeter. Basketball and life are a lot alike — you have to have balance and we did.”
Stewart lauded Washington head coach Ryan Day.
“Ryan Day is outstanding,” Stewart said. “His father was athletic director for a couple of years during the end of my Chillicothe tenure in the late ’90s. His dad would be awfully proud of him. I think he would be saying something like, ‘the Bible is full of people who find themselves in really uncomfortable places that they didn’t plan on being. And that’s precisely where the Lord wants you to be.’
“If you know Ryan Day, you know he’s been where the Lord wants him to be for a long, long time,” Stewart said. “I really feel for his situation and what he’s trying to do with his team. They continue to work hard and play hard, even when the other team plays particularly well.
“We played well here tonight,” Stewart said. “This wasn’t a failure of Court House, or them not meeting a standard, this was a good ball game for us.
“We have one senior on our team,” Stewart said. “We’ve got a lot of learning taking place. Ten of my guys didn’t play a varsity game until we started in December. We’re very much a work in progress.”
McClain made 6 of 12 field goal attempts in the first quarter, including four threes, while Washington made 1 of 8 field goal tries in the inital period.
McClain held a 16-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers cooled a bit from the field in the second quarter, outscoring the Blue Lions 12-9 to take a 28-14 halftime lead.
The Blue Lions got as close to McClain as 11 points.
However, McClain held a 43-25 lead after three quarters of play.
The margin for McClain stayed in the 20-point range in the fourth quarter with the final tally differential equaling what was established earlier in the period, 24 points.
“We took a huge step back tonight,” Washington head coach Ryan Day said. “I wish it was more than them just hitting a few threes and playing from behind.
“We made a decent effort in the first and second quarter to claw our way back,” Day said. “I can’t explain the second half — lack of effort, lack of understanding.
“We’ve been talking the last week about changing the losing mentality, not expecting things to go bad,” Day said. “I am really struggling to change that mentality. It’s been a very difficult struggle.
“We don’t care of the ball very well,” Day said. “We don’t make very good decisions and that puts a lot of pressure on our defense when we are consistently giving the ball up; not getting good shots and then not getting offensive rebounds.”
Washington (0-11 overall, 0-6 FAC) will return to action Tuesday at Adena High School near Frankfort, taking on the Warriors of the Scioto Valley Conference.
McClain will host Unioto Saturday night.
In other FAC games Friday, Jackson defeated Miami Trace, 71-37 and Chillicothe upended Hillsboro, 63-37.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 5 9 11 11 — 36
Mc 16 12 15 17 — 60
WASHINGTON — Brice Cartwright 0-0-0; Karson Runk 1-1-3; Drew Moats 1-1-3; Trevin Brown 0-0-0; Mitch Lotz 3-2-8; Stone DuBois 0-0-0; Calum Brown 1-0-2; Tanner Lemaster 4 (2)-6-20; Noah Hicks 0-0-0. TOTALS — 10 (2)-10-36. Free throw shooting: 10 of 16 for 63 percent. Three-point field goals: Lemaster, 2. Field goal shooting: 12 of 38 for 32 percent. Turnovers: 19.
McCLAIN — Preston Saunders 1 (2)-2-10; Bryson Badgley 1 (6)-3-23; Lyle White 1-0-2; Matt Bliss 0 (2)-0-6; Camden Closson 2-3-7; Isaac Carroll 0-0-0; Braeden Bergstrom 0 (1)-0-3; Carson Spangler 0-0-0; Noah Reeves 0-0-0; Braden Wright 1-3-5; Wesley Potts 1-0-2; Dakota Pollock 1-0-2. TOTALS — 8 (11)-10-60. Free throw shooting: 10 of 15 for 67 percent. Three-point field goals: Badgley, 6; Saunders, 2; Bliss, 2; Bergstrom. Field goal shooting: 19 of 48 for 40 percent. Turnovers: 8.