Submitted by TSB Community
The McKinney Christian Academy Lady Mustangs topped the Dallas Lutheran Lions in a double overtime thriller Friday night to take the district crown 55-52. Heading into the game the Mustangs stood alone at the top of District 4-3A with a perfect 6-0 mark with the Lions right behind at 5-1 and seeking a share of first place. Lutheran, the defending district champion, was not going to let go of that crown easily, particularly on their home floor and they started the game with no intention of settling for second place. After the Mustangs Sr Captain Sidney Thompson opened the scoring with a baseline 12 footer from the right side, the Lions reeled off 7 straight points including a step back three pointer by Haley Heil, the area’s leading three point shooter for small schools. Thompson answered with another baseline basket and Fr Hannah Wilks got rolling with two free-throws and a put-back.
In what would be a troubling trend for the Mustangs, the Lion’s Rebecca Bartel began a parade to the free-throw line hitting 4 of 4. In the first meeting at MCA she hit 10 of 11 freebies on the way to 21 points. She would be a focal point of the Mustang defense but her ability to draw fouls plagued MCA all night. She followed with a runner in the lane, but the Mustangs answered with Thompson finding Wilks slicing through the paint. She banked in the bunny, was fouled and converted the three point play and the Mustangs were back in it, down two at 13-11 after one.
In the second Bartel continued her permanent residence at the free-throw line hitting 6 of 6 as the Lions opened up a 7 point lead. The Mustangs stayed in it with 2 baskets by Soph point Julie James and and one each by Wilks and Fr backup Makenna Shulte, subbing for Thompson. In a strange case of deja vu for the Mustang faithful, things took a turn for the worse for the Mustangs as Wilks drove the left lane on a fast break between two Lions, found contact and came down awkwardly on her right knee. She fell down in a heap, no foul was called and the Lions converted a fast break on the other end to go up by 6. Last year in the exact same situation with the Mustangs battling the Lions for the district title at Lutheran’s floor, Kaitlynn McAdams, the Mustangs captain and leading scorer was leading the Mustangs with 14 first half points as MCA led the Lions early in the third quarter. She was then knocked to the floor with an errant elbow, left the game only to return ineffectively. She would score only two points in the second half as Lutheran grabbed a two point win and the district title from the Mustangs.
These Mustangs are a resilient bunch, however, and with Wilks hobbled to the bench for the last three minutes of the first half, Sr McAdams who had been completely silent, scoreless up to this point, suddenly found her rhythm. Jr Sarah Grubbs found her open on the right perimeter and McAdams, the Mustangs leading three pointer shooter, coolly dropped in a twenty footer to bring the Mustangs within three. After sister Kaitlyn Heil banked in a drive for the Lions, James, the Mustangs field marshall, went back to the well, driving right and kicking out to McAdams who drained another trey to bring the Mustangs within two at the half, 27-25.
Freshman sensation Wilks, who has been a major factor in the Mustangs success this season, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game had 9 points and 8 rebounds prior to her injury. With her knee taped and tested at intermission, she declared she was ready to go and, a la Willis Reed (look it up kiddos), came out to answer the bell in the second half. She grabbed the first rebound in the second half and James hit a jumper in the lane to knot the score at 27. McAdams then drove the length of the floor to give the Mustangs their first lead since the opening minute. The third then was a slugfest with two heavy weights exchanging body shots. Haley Heil and Bartel would each knock down three pointers for the Lions while Mustang Captains McAdams, Thompson and James scored for the Mustangs. With the quarter running down McAdams lifted a shot from the right that banked left. Thompson had established perfect backside position for the rebound and her putback at the buzzer resulted in a 36-35 lead after three. The Mustangs ran to the bench in celebration but the dramatics were far from over. In fact, they were just beginning.
The Mustangs began to exert their strength and build on their lead in the fourth. Thompson kicked out to McAdams who banked a trey from deep on the right side for a 4 point lead. Later when the Mustangs stretched the lead to five, Bartel answered with a three ball to make it 42-40. James had a put-back to go back to four but Heil answered with a runner from the left. James came right back with a turnaround jumper and then hit one of two free-throws for a 47-42 lead with a minute and change to go. After a Lutheran miss the Mustangs gave it right back on a turnover. Bartel went back to the line on a phantom foul and hit both, 47-44. The Mustangs tried to run out the clock but got called on a five second call setting the stage for an unsuspecting heroine to take the spotlight. With the Mustangs draped all over Bartel and the two Heil sisters, Lutheran kicked the ball out to Cami Shannon, who after 2 layups in the first quarter had not come close to scoring. She lifted a shot from the left side towards the heavens and her prayer was answered hitting nothing but net, knotting the score at 47 and sending the game into OT.
The Mustangs were dismayed but not defeated. McAdams got the tip again and the Mustangs got out to an early lead in OT as James found her free-throw form with 2 of 2. Shannon missed from the elbow and after the Mustangs rebounded James was fouled again and sank two more free-throws for a 51-47 lead. Bartel drew yet another questionable foul and hit one of two, her first miss in 14 tries and the Mustangs were clinging to a 51-48 lead. The Mustangs tried to run out the clock, but James was called for a travel and Lutheran had life. With 21 tics on the clock Lutheran tried to get position for a tying three pointer , but the Mustangs would not allow it. With seven ticks left Bartel launched a desperation 3 that missed, but Lutheran rebounded in the lane. With three seconds to play a kick out found, you guessed it, Cami Shannon on the right perimeter who immediately launched another prayer that graced the nets as the buzzer sounded, 51 all. Who said lightening doesn’t strike twice?
Both teams, excited, exhausted, headed into the second OT and McAdams got the tip again. James drove left and dished to Wilks for two. Heil induced a foul from Grubbs and hit one of two. McAdams was twice fouled and converted one of two each time. Again the Mustangs by three at 55-52 with 15 seconds left and again the Lions with a last shot, but the heroine had left the stage. Shannon had fouled out. Bartel got a look from 21 feet that rimmed out, Thompson secured the rebound and pitched to James who dribbled out the clock and the Mustangs claimed the district championship.
Wilks led the Mustangs with 16 points and 14 rebounds. McAdams and James had 14 each and James had 4 blocks on Heil. Thompson ended with eight points and five rebounds. Shulte had two points. Grubbs did not score, but held Kaitlyn Heil to two points and grabbed eight rebounds and gave out three assists.
Bartel led all scorers with 25. Haley Heil had 11 and Shannon 10 for Lutheran. MCA goes to 20-6 (7-0) on the season and has one last district game, hosting fourth place First Baptist Tuesday night. Lutheran (5-2) has a Tuesday showdown at Brook Hill for 2nd place.
By Qtrs 1 2 H 3 4 Reg 1OT 2OT Final
MCA 11 14 25 11 11 47 4 4 55
Luth 13 14 27 8 12 47 4 1 52