The Miami Trace Lady Panthers hosted the McClain Lady Tigers Wednesday, Jan. 26, on a very cold night in Fayette County.
It was senior night and Miami Trace recognized its four seniors — Mallory Pavey, Sidney Payton, Libby Aleshire and Emma Pitstick — as well as McClain’s three seniors — Evelyn Vanzant, Iva Easter and Madi Sykes.
Miami Trace sent its seniors out of their final home game with a 40-29 victory.
Miami Trace led 13-6 at the end of the first quarter and 18-10 at the half.
McClain rallied back in the third quarter with 13 points to seven for Miami Trace as the Lady Panthers held fast to a 25-23 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Miami Trace had another outstanding defensive quarter in the fourth, limiting McClain to six points while scoring 15 to post the 40-29 victory.
“This one was extra-special,” Miami Trace head coach Kayla Dettwiller said. “We really wanted that one for the seniors. They got one on us (51-39 on Dec. 11 at McClain) and it’s always nice to beat your alma mater.
“I can’t say enough about how hard those girls worked,” Dettwiller said. “We were off Saturday, so, we had four practices getting ready. We knew (McClain) was going to be physical and that we had to be ready for that physicality in the paint, anytime we break that three-point line. Are we going to let them be more physical than us, and what are we going to do when we do get hit. Are we going to finish or fall down.
“We had about 10 minutes there in the middle of the game where we just couldn’t get the ball to fall,” Dettwiller said. “Even layups were not going in. But our kids didn’t give up on each other. They believed in each other and kept fighting. Tonight was probably one of the best nights I’ve heard our team talk on offense and defense. I heard kids directing other kids; trying to get kids lined up in open spaces, calling out the next pass. That’s just a testament to them starting to buy in to what we’ve been saying every day in practice.”
Miami Trace senior Emma Pitstick has been unable to play this season due to an injury.
However, on Wednesday she was in uniform and made two brief appearances in the game.
Pitstick was on the floor at the opening tip, starting in her final home game. There was a quick official’s time out after possession was established with Pitstick going back to the bench.
In the waning seconds of the game, with Miami Trace leading by nine points, Pitstick was sent back into the game.
In what appeared to be a pre-arranged play, Miami Trace inbounded the ball to Pitstick, and she was fouled.
She went to the line and made both free throws, her only two points of the season, much to the delight of the Miami Trace faithful.
Miami Trace junior Hillery ‘Bean’ Jacobs was the game’s leading scorer with 14 points. She was 4 of 4 from the foul line and made both of Miami Trace’s three-point field goals. Jacobs also shared the team lead with five rebounds and one blocked shot.
Senior Libby Aleshire scored eight points for Miami Trace. She also had five rebounds and she had a team-high three assists.
Sophomore Jessee Stewart scored six points to go along with two assists.
Junior Hillary McCoy scored four points and grabbed five rebounds.
Along with Pitstick, juniors Kaelin Pfeifer and Mallory Lovett both had two points.
McClain was led by senior Iva Easter with 10 points.
Junior Payton Pryor scored seven, sophomores Haylee Havens and Lily Barnes both scored four points and senior Evelyn Vanzant scored two.
Miami Trace made 13 of 36 field goal attempts for 36 percent.
McClain was 12 of 49 from the field for 24 percent.
Miami Trace made 12 of 14 free throws for 86 percent. McClain was 5 of 8 from the line for 63 percent.
“I thought we did a good job of changing defenses there in the second half,” McClain head coach Jarrod Haines said. “That gave them some problems. But when a team is playing zone against you and you don’t make any outside shots, it’s going to be a rough night.”
McClain was 0 of 15 shooting from behind the three-point line Wednesday.
“We fought like tigers,” Haines said. “I thought the combination of (Haylee) Havens and (Payton) Pryor and (Lily) Barnes in there, especially in the second half, rebounding the basketball for us offensively, was huge.
“At the end of the day, Trace just made more shots that us,” Haines said. “They hit a couple of nice outside shots, open looks. In the second half they were getting the rebounds and stick-backs. You have to give credit to them. Their girls played great. We just didn’t make enough shots.”
Miami Trace (7-12 overall, 4-5 in the FAC) will play at East Clinton next Wednesday.
McClain falls to 6-10 overall, 4-5 in the FAC).
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 13 5 7 15 — 40
Mc 6 4 13 6 — 29
MIAMI TRACE — Kaelin Pfeifer 1-0-2; Hillary McCoy 2-0-4; Jessee Stewart 2-2-6; Libby Aleshire 2-4-8; Mallory Pavey 1-0-2; Sidney Payton 0-0-0; Mallory Lovett 1-0-2; Hillery Jacobs 2 (2)-4-14; Emma Pitstick 0-2-2. TOTALS — 11 (2)-12-40. Free throw shooting: 12 of 14 for 86 percent. Three-point field goals: Jacobs, 2. Field goal shooting: 13 of 36 for 36 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 2 of 14 for 14 percent. Rebounds: 25 (6 offensive). Turnovers: 14. Assists: 9. Steals: 5. Blocked shots: 2.
McCLAIN — Evelyn Vanzant 1-0-2; Payton Pryor 2-3-7; Iva Easter 4-2-10; Jaden McCoy 0-0-0; Haylee Havens 2-0-4; Kaitlyn Jett 0-0-0; Lily Barnes 2-0-4; Madi Sykes 1-0-2. TOTALS — 12-5-29. Free throw shooting: 5 of 8 for 63 percent. Three-point field goals: none. Field goal shooting: 12 of 49 for 24 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 0 of 15. Turnovers: 11. Offensive rebounds: 12.