The McKinney Christian Academy varsity girls basketball team stands at 8-5 after splitting a pair of games so far this week. Those included a 30-19 triumph over Paris Home School on Monday and then followed with a narrow loss to Era in the opening round of the S & S For the Love of the Game Tourney on Friday afternoon, 42-34.
On Monday night the Mustangs soldiered without their point guard, Julie James, in a rather sloppy affair as the Mustangs commited 31 turnovers against a team they had beat by 24 earlier in the season. They started strong with a good defensive effort, holding the visitors to 1 point in the first period and led 10-1 behind 4 points by Kaitlynn McAdams, a three pointer by Missy Grollnek, and a three point play by Natalie Lemieux.
The offense began to stall in the second period with only 6 points, 4 more by McAdams and 2 by Sidney Thompson. MCA led 16-5 at the break.
Grollnek hit a jumper to start the 3rd and McAdams hit a three pointer, but that was all the scoring for the Mustangs. Fortunately, the defense continued to hold tight, again allowing just one point for the Warriors and it was 21-6 after 3. The reserves played liberally in the 4th and the Warriors finally got loose for some scoring with 13 in the period. McAdams brought home all the points, 9 in the fourth as MCA prevailed 30-19.
McAdams finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds,7 steals and 4 blocks. Grollnek had 5 points and 5 steals. Lemieux had 3 points and 4 steals. Sidney Thompson had 2 points and 4 boards. Sarah Grubbs had 8 steals and 4 assists. Freshman Kayce Zanetell had 9 caroms.
Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the S & S Consolidated For the Love of the Game Tourney the Mustangs were paired with the Era Hornets. In what was a very exciting game, the Mustangs weathered a barrage of three pointers from the Era guards in falling behind early, then rallied with renewed defense to regain the lead only to falter in the end and get booted to the loser’s bracket, 42-34.
In the first quarter Era’s 5 foot nothing shooting guard, Shae Knabe #4, broke open a close game with two long range threes, well behind the arc, to give the Lady Hornets the early lead . The Mustangs were on alert, but not yet believers until she bombed in two more to close the quarter at 17-8, Era. Knabe had 15 of those 17 with 4 outside the arc and another three when she drove the lane, was fouled on a made shot and converted the free throw. The Mustangs stayed in the contest with 4 points by Forward Sidney Thompson and 4 by point Julie James.
The Mustangs adjusted their defense assigning Sr guard Natalie Lemieux to Knabe in a Diamond and 1 set which worked like a dream, holding Knabe scoreless and Era to two points in the second quarter and it was 19-14 at the half. Staying with that same defense to start the second half the Mustangs surged to the lead in the 3rd as James and McAdams went to work with 6 each in the period. Lemieux also added a basket and the Mustangs were up three at 28-25. Suddenly, Knabe’s equally vertically challenged sister, Logan Knabe #3, stepped up and hit a three herself and it was 28 all after 3 periods.
The winners bracket was on the line and both teams played early in the 4th like they wanted it. James had two more baskets and McAdams one while Logan Knabe drained two more threes and a freethrow and it was 35-34, Era with 3 minutes to play. The Mustangs had suffered 7 3-point arrows, but were still alive. It was the 8th one ,however ,that was the killer. Clinging to a one point lead, the Hornets missed a shot , but the Mustangs could not gather the carom. In the midst of the scramble in the lane one of the Hornets grabbed the ball and kicked out to Shae Knabe who had used the melee to shake free of Lemieux. She stepped into the pass at the arc and sent her 5th three pointer, a dagger through the heart of the Mustangs, though the bottom of the basket. 38-34 Hornets.
The Mustangs missed and were forced to foul as the Hornets ran clock with the lead and Logan Knabe closed out the Mustangs at the line.
James led the Mustangs in scoring with 16 and dished out 4 assists. McAdams followed with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Lemieux and Thompson each pitched in 4 points.
The Mustangs fall to 8-5 on the season and are bounced to the losers bracket where they will meet Blue Ridge.