Miami Trace Lady Panthers senior Shaylee McDonald entered Wednesday’s non-conference game against the Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs needing six points to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career.
The milestone moment came at the buzzer to end the first quarter when McDonald hit a three-point shot, giving her at that time seven points for the game and 1,001 for her career.
Miami Trace struggled in the second quarter, but came back much better in the second half to post a 45-37 win.
After McDonald hit the shot that put her over the 1,000-point mark, she was given the ball and joined on the floor by her parents, Troy and Stephanie and received a nice ovation from the home fans and Lady Mustang fans, as well.
McDonald went on to lead the Lady Panthers with 12 points, giving her 1,006 for her career.
Freshman Hillery Jacobs scored nine points, while junior Magarah Bloom and sophomore Libby Aleshire both added seven points.
Bloom and Aleshire were key on the boards, both coming down with eight rebounds. Bloom led the Lady Panthers with three assists.
Lynchburg-Clay senior Zoe Fittro was the game’s leading scorer with 17 points.
Senior Serena Smith and Serene Walker each contributed eight points to the Lady Mustangs’ cause.
“This was all on me,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “We were bad tonight. I don’t sugar-coat it. We’ve been preparing for McClain for four or five days already.
“You want to win every game, every possession,” Ackley said. “But, at the end of the day, if you lose tonight, you don’t lose a league championship. We’ve gone over McClain’s sets, doing everything we do basically for the last week and it showed tonight. I take full responsibility for that. It’s not on our kids.
“I thought early we got the looks we were looking for,” Ackley said. “The kids usually knock those shots down. Once again, that comes to focus. When they see that I’m not as focused as I should be, it goes right to them. They are a reflection of me. I’m really disappointed in myself. We didn’t do a very good job of having them ready to play tonight.”
Ackley spoke about McDonald and her accomplishment.
“Shay’s had as good a four years as probably any female basketball player that’s come through Miami Trace,” Ackley said. “She’s been to a Final Four. Now she’s scored 1,000 points. She’s been a part of multiple championships.
“The thing that makes me the most proud of Shay is the person and how much she’s grown,” Ackley said. “She’s been a great leader for our young kids. She’s really stepped up and taken on a leadership role this year. That’s not really in her character to do such a thing. She’s pretty quiet most of the time.
“She never asked about 1,000 points, not one time this season,” Ackley said. “That shows the kind of team player she is. She played with two other 1,000-point scorers for two years in Victoria Fliehman and Tanner Bryant. This year she’s been hurt. I think she’s missed four or five games. Shaylee’s been great at being team first and we couldn’t be where we are now without her. I’m the lucky one for getting to coach her for four years.”
“I thought we came out and played a really good first half,” Lynchburg-Clay head coach Whitney Lewis said. “We held Miami Trace, which is a really good basketball team, to 17 points in that first half.
“I thought we did a great job on the boards,” Lewis said. “We were kind of controlling the pace of the game. We played some good defense.
“In the second half, I think we ran out of gas,” Lewis said. “We’ve battled some injuries and some sickness. They were able to get up and down the floor on us and make some easy shots and kind of (pull) away there in the second half.”
Miami Trace led 9-4 and 12-6 in the first quarter.
Lynchburg-Clay tied the game, 12-12 before McDonald drained the three-point shot at the buzzer, putting Miami Trace into the lead, 15-12.
The Lady Mustangs scored the first five points of the second quarter.
There followed a lull in the scoring for both teams.
Lynchburg-Clay was on a 12-0 run, leading 24-15 when Aleshire scored Miami Trace’s only two points of the quarter with 28.7 seconds to play in the half.
The Lady Mustangs exited the floor with a 24-17 halftime lead.
Miami Trace did not spend much time in the locker room.
They were soon back out on the court for warm-ups for the second half.
Fittro began the scoring with a backwards shot seldom seen in the game. It was good giving L-C a 10-point lead.
Miami Trace began its comeback effort with six points from junior Delaney Eakins.
The Lady Panthers fought back to within two points.
Smith kept Miami Trace at bay with a three-point bucket with under two minutes remaining in the third period.
The Lady Mustangs went back up by six points near the end of the period.
Bloom was fouled and went to the line with 2.3 seconds to go in the third.
She hit the first free throw, missed the second and got her own rebound and scored to set the tally at 33-30 in favor of the visitors with eight minutes remaining.
Two free throws from McDonald and a stick-back bucket from sophomore Emma Pitstick propelled Miami Trace back into the lead, 34-33 with 6:38 remaining.
It was the beginning of a 10-0 run for the Lady Panthers to put them on top, 40-33 with 3:15 to go in the game.
The Lady Mustangs got back within four points with 50 seconds remaining, but they would draw no closer.
Miami Trace made four of its last six free throw attempts to set the final at 45-37.
First place in the Frontier Athletic Conference will be on the line Thursday night when the McClain Lady Tigers visit Miami Trace High School.
Both teams are 7-1 in the FAC entering the game.
The team that emerges with the win will clinch at least a share of the FAC title.
“Playing a team as good as McClain, they are physical, they guard so well on the perimeter,” Ackley said. “Defensively, they’re the best team around. We’ll have our hands full with them.”
McClain has a game remaining at Hillsboro Saturday and Miami Trace (15-5) plays at Washington High School Saturday night.
Lynchburg-Clay (11-10 overall) is back in action Thursday at Ripley.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 15 2 13 15 — 45
L-C 12 12 9 4 — 37
MIAMI TRACE — Sidney Payton 0-0-0; Hillary McCoy 0-0-0; Aubrey McCoy 0-0-0; Shay McDonald 3 (1)-3-12; Magarah Bloom 1-5-7; Libby Aleshire 2-3-7; Gracey Ferguson 1-0-2; Mallory Lovett 0-0-0; Hillery Jacobs 2 (1)-2-9; Grace Bapst 0-0-0; Emma Pitstick 1-0-2; Delaney Eakins 2-2-6. TOTALS — 12 (2)-15-45. Free throw shooting: 15 of 22 for 68 percent. Three-point field goals: McDonald, Jacobs. Field goal shooting: 14 of 48 for 29 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 2 of 6 for 33 percent. Rebounds: 38 (16 offensive). Turnovers: 16. Assists: 9. Steals: 10.
LYNCHBURG-CLAY — Kalyn Rich 0-0-0; Bryanna Price 0-0-0; Zoe Fittro 7-3-17; Serena Smith 2 (1)-1-8; Sierra Benney 0 (1)-0-3; Serene Walker 2-4-8; Kaylee Lunsford 0-0-0; Logan Binkley 0-1-1. TOTALS — 11 (2)-9-37. Free throw shooting: 9 of 11 for 82 percent. Three-point field goals: Smith, Benney. Field goal shooting: 13 of 41 for 32 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 2 of 12 for 17 percent. Turnovers: 24. Offensive rebounds: 13.