What started as a disappointing loss in a battle for first place in the district ended in a blowout win to finish last week for the McKinney Christian Academy girls basketball team.
The Week’s Beginning: Dallas Lutheran Tops Lady Mustangs
The Lady Mustangs went into Tuesday’s showdown at Dallas Lutheran knowing they were going to have to play their very best to beat a strong Dallas Lutheran team on their home court.
And for three plus quarters they did just that.
The two teams entered the contest with identical 3-0 district records each having decimated their district opponents by an average of 30 points a game and were ranked near the top of the Dallas Morning News rankings for area private schools. Lutheran was listed at #4 while the Mustangs were right behind at #5. The two teams were well known to each other having been two of the three teams tying for last years title with 8-2 district records, and they split last years head to head with close home court victories.
The Mustangs lost the game, 46-39. But they wanted to get their kicks in early and they did just that jumping out to a 14-9 first quarter advantage turning the tables on Lutheran with pressure defense on a team known for pressure defense. Leading scorer pond junior post Kaitlynn McAdams began the game in top form hitting a couple of her patented 15-foot bank shots early and closing the quarter with a 3 pointer. She totaled 10 points in the first. Sid Thompson and Julie James accounted to the other 4. Meanwhile , the Mustang defense was holding Lutheran’s Minnie Essein, last year’s Co Player of the Year, in check with only two points in the first quarter.
Lutheran rallied a little in the second behind a three pointer by K. Heil , but Essein was held again to only one field goal. The Mustangs were slowed by the Lutheran press, but not stopped, as good team passing then dribble penetration by the the Mustang’s freshman point guard, Julie James led the attack. She distributed the ball to McAdams who scored 4 more. Freshman Kayce Zanetell closed the scoring with a freethrow and MCA led 19-16 at the half.
The Mustangs felt good about their chance to take control of the district race with a win on the Lady Lions’ home floor, but disaster struck early in the second half that would greatly affect the outcome of the game. McAdams started the second half where she left off with a 12 foot bank shot for her 16th point of the game, but a few minutes later she was knocked from the game on an unusual play. James lofted a pass over McAdams at the high post to Thompson on the low post for an easy two. Essein mistakenly jumped for the ball at the high post crashed into McAdams with a blow to the head sending her to the floor and out of the game. She returned to the game a few minutes later, but was not herself. She did not score the rest of the way.
Lutheran, on the other hand began to heat up as Amanda Afkhamania hit a three and H. Heil hit two more. Essein added another basket and the Lions were charging hard. The young Mustangs were forced to be play more team ball without their scoring leader and they responded very well. With James pushing the attack, 4 more Mustangs scored in the third. Thompson hit a driving layup. Sr Nat Lemieux dropped in a 15 footer off of a deft pass from soph Sarah Grubbs , freshman Missy Grollnek hit a 12 foot jump shot, and James hit two more driving layups herself. When the smoke cleared it was 31 all after 3.
Eight minutes to first place the Lions drew first blood in the fourth on another three by H. Heil for a 34-31 lead. The Mustangs would fire several missed shots before James and Thompson hit for buckets. The Lions then began to camp out at the throw line. The saying goes that “Charity begins at home” and nothing was truer Tuesday night. Bartel hit two freebies in a row and Essein hit 3 of 4 for 39-35 lead. The Lions would shoot 24 freethrows on the night compared to the Mustangs 7. These Mustangs do not quit, however, and when Thompson dropped in a 12 footer from the left baseline and it was 39-37 with 2 minutes to play.
Lutheran went into a slow down game to burn clock and the Mustangs were forced to foul. They picked the right person to foul in Rimer who missed two but the Mustangs failed to block out Essein who got the putback and effectively the game. James would add one more basket but, the Lions closed them out on the line and the Mustang outside shooters came up empty and it was 46-39 and first place to Lutheran.
McAdams ended with 16 points. She led in boards with 8 and blocks with 3. James had 10 points, 8 steals and 4 assists. Thompson scored 8 and added 6 rebounds. Grollnek and Lemieux scored 2 each and Zanetell 1.
For Lutheran H Heil scored 13, while Essein and Bartel ended with 12 each. Bartel on 8 of 8 from the line.
The Week’s Ending: MCA Bounces Back, Blasts Shelton
The Lady Mustangs bounced back from their first district loss with a 57-17 blasting of the Shelton School Chargers Friday night to close out district play in second place alone at 4-1. They raised their overall season record to 15-10 with the win. The Mustangs jumped all over the visiting Chargers with a 26-4 first quarter explosion. Jr Post Kaitlynn McAdams and Fr Point Guard Julie James each score 11 in the period off a series of steals . Sr Nat Lemieux and Fr forward Kayce Zanetell each added baskets in the onslaught.
McAdams hit for 4 more in the 2nd period before the starters gave way to the second unit. It was good experience for the youngsters who played most of the 2nd quarter. Not that the starters have all that much experience themselves. In the absence of Jr Forward Sidney Thompson, who was out with injury, the Mustangs started a sophomore and two freshmen. Freshman back up shooting guard Missy Grollnek immediately banked in a three pointer and Soph Lauren Sanford ripped the nets with two 16 footers and it was 37-10 at the half.
The second half was different, with the Mustangs back in the half-court defense, but the results were similar . The defense blanked the Chargers in the third and James Sanford and Lemieux scored for MCA as the Mustangs built a 45-10 third quarter lead. The Mustangs closed the game letting the young ones run as Soph Sarah Grubbs, and Freshmen Grollnek and Lily Thompson hit fast break baskets for the 57-17 final.
McAdams ended with 17 points,7 rebounds, and 8 steals. James had 15 points,9 rebs and 6 steals. Grollnek had 7 points and three assists. Sanford 6 points and 5 rebounds. Grubbs scored 4 points and had 8 rebounds and 5 steals while Lemieux also had 4 points and added 7 steals and 3 assists.
Up Next: Canyon Creek
MCA will be next in action Tuesday at Canyon Creek in a pivotal district matchup. Canyon Creek sits at 3-2 in third place and will try to avenge MCA’s 23 point victory in their first contest. MCA will try to keep pace with first place Dallas Lutheran who finished the first half of district at 5-0.