Submitted by TSB Community
The McKinney Christian Academy Mustangs played the perfect host this week, inviting the Australian Dolphins to the MCA gym, showing them some good ol’ USA basketball for 30 minutes and then allowing them to escape with a 48-46 win at the buzzer.
MCA coach Lee Brock said it was fun having the Aussies in town.
“The party after the game was fun,” MCA coach Lee Brock said. “It was great to share food and fellowship with people from another country and culture. We used the opportunity to share the Gospel as well. Perhaps we can continue this yearly.”
Both teams began the Intercontinental contest in fine fashion as the Aussies used a balanced attack with four players scoring to open with 14 points in the first period. The Mustangs (9-5 overall), on the other hand, countered with their three scoring leaders of Kaitlynn McAdams, Julie James and Hannah Wilks for 8, 4 and 4 respectively for a 16-14 lead after one.
The Mustang defense ramped up in the second, holding the Dolphins to 4 points while James got hot with a basket off of a steal, two mid-range jumpers and a free-throw for 7 points. Sidney Thompson hit a 15-footer from the foul line and the Mustangs led 25-18 at the break. It was the intermission that would prove the Mustangs’ undoing, however as the Mustangs lost their point guard, James, to her soccer pursuits.
Moving shooting guard Sarah Grubbs to point in her place, the Mustangs tried to maintain the offensive pressure. And they did pretty well in the third, scoring 13 points on 7 by McAdams, 4 by Grubbs and 2 by Wilks. The defense began to show cracks , however, as Michelle Clarke bombed two three pointers for the Dolphins and they began to work inside successfully to cut the lead slightly after 3 at 38-32.
The wheels began to unravel in the 4th for the Mustangs as they began to wilt under increasing Aussie pressure. MCA began to turn the ball over frequently, managing only 5 shots in the last period, with Wilks converting on three of them. Gubbs and Kylie Madry each hit one of two free-throws, McAdams was shutout and the Mustangs totaled only 8 points while the Dolphins worked inside to Tamara Moskeleva who matched the Mustang output with for the period with 8 points, herself.
The Dolphins took their first lead of the contest with 2 minutes to go. And after the Mustangs gifted another turnover, the Dolphins went to Moskaleva for another fadeaway from the low post for a three-point lead. The Mustangs answered, as McAdams gave a drop-off to Wilks, who converted from point blank range to cut the lead to one with 30 tics to go. The Mustangs then forced the Aussies into a turnover and got a chance to regain the lead. McAdams bank shot from the right was just of the rim and the Dolphins rebounded and tried to advance the ball up the court but lost control. McAdams picked up the loose ball and charged up the right side only to have it knocked out of bounds from mid court with 3.8 seconds to go.
The Mustangs fashioned strategy during a timeout, and McAdams inbounded to Thompson at the top of the key who found Kaycee Zanetell on the left side. The sophomore launched an 18-footer from just inside the arc that hit nothing but net as time expired. The Mustangs cheered, but hold the phone, the official had blown an inadvertent whistle. The basket was waived off. Three point eight was put back on the clock and the old timers in the group were thinking international incident, US versus the Ruskies, etc.
After another timeout, the Mustangs tried again from half-court in front of the scorers table. This time Wilks faked to the key, got a back pick from Zanetell and circled back to the basket. McAdams long pass found her at the rim. She got a close look, but was jostled a bit on the shot and the ball rimmed out as the Aussies escaped with the rebound and the win 48-46.
“It was fun having the Aussies here,” Brock said. “It would have been more fun to have won. We must learn to eliminate silly turnovers, especially late, that continue to plague us. We have to get mentally tougher. We need better practice attendance, which has been extremely poor this year.”
McAdams led all scorers with 15. She had 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Wilks followed with 12 points, 7 boards and 4 assists. James had 11 points and 2 steals in her half of play. Grubbs had 5 points and 3 steals. Thompson ended with 2 points, 5 boards and 4 assists. Madry had the final point for the Mustangs.
After starting 8-1 the Mustangs have now lost 4 of 5, all in similar fashion, losing late game leads in crunch time. They look to right the ship before district play begins in January, but they must do so quickly. Their next action is versus the alumni in the annual alumni game this Friday night at 6:00 pm. They will then host the 4th annual Round Ball Round up Tourney Dec 28-30. Their will be one more non district game after the tourney before district play.