The bad news is that McKinney Christian Academy’s girls basketball team has fallen to 11-9 after playing its past four games without point guard Julie James, who has been out of town with her National Champion soccer team.
The good news is that they will have her back for district play which opens this Friday night against last year’s district co-champ Canyon Creek. MCA, Canyon Creek and Dallas Lutheran ended last season in a three way tie for the TAPPS district 4-3A championship and are expected to be the favorites for the district title again this year.
“We took our lumps the last 4 games playing without Julie, but it gave several of our players a little more time handling the ball and although we were not that successful, ultimately that time with the ball will help them,” MCA coach Lee Brock said. “It exposed some of our weaknesses that we will work on this week in practice. Fortunately, we have 4 days to prepare for Canyon Creek. These will be the most important practice days of the year thus far.”
The young Mustangs dropped a 43-26 decision to Dallas Thunder in the Consolation Finals of their own Roundball Round-Up Friday night at the MCA Joshua Gymnasium. The Lady Mustangs, who had beaten The Thunder earlier this year, struggled again offensively with turnovers and poor shooting. They could not keep pace with the hot-shooting Thunder, who blistered the nets for 18 first quarter points including two 3-pointers, one by The Thunder’s Ebony Curry who had 9 points herself in the opening quarter.
The Mustangs were led by leading scorer Kaitlynn McAdams, who had 6 in the first. Fellow junior captain Sydney Thompson added a 12-footer from inside the left elbow and it was 18-8 after one.
The Mustangs put extra attention on Curry in the second and held her scoreless, and although the Thunder’s Hannah McAfee hit her second three pointer of the game, the Thunder cooled to only 6 points in the second period. Unfortunately, while the Thunder cooled, the Mustangs went into the deep freeze, hitting only one of 11 tries, a single basket by McAdams and it was 25-10 at the break.
The Mustangs had hoped to add some hardware to their trophy case with this game. In the first two years of their annual Tourney, they had captured the first and second place trophies, beating CHANT in the championship in 2009, and losing the championship in overtime to Abundant Life of Little Rock last year to settle for second. First or second was out of the question following the Mustangs’ defeat in the opening round to the HSAA Angels JV team, but the Mustangs had righted the ship a little with a second -ound win over Paris Home school, a game in which the Mustangs appeared to have regained their offensive swagger. The consolation championship would still have added a little to glitter to the shelving, but it was not to be.
The Mustangs’ defensive effort was better in the second half, holding the Thunder to 18 total points, but the Mustangs offensive woes continued, scoring only 16 themselves. McAdams hit for 12 of the 16 and Thompson had the other 4 as they proved to be the only two Mustangs to find the basket all night. McAdams and Thompson also led in rebounds with 10 and 5 respectively.
Earlier Tournament Action
In the opening round of the tourney, the Mustangs fell to the surprising HSAA Angels JV team (see below) 39-30. Leading 7-4 after the first quarter, the Mustangs were done in by a 21 point second quarter by the Angels, including 9 points and two three pointers by Sara Williams of the Angels. The Mustangs tallied only 6 points in the second period and were down 25-13 at the half. They were to rally a little in the second half, outscoring HSAA 17-14 in the second half, but it was too little too late and the Mustangs were forced to the losers party.
McAdams led the Mustangs again with 17 points,13 rebounds and 4 blocks. Senior Natalie Lemieux and soph Sarah Grubbs scored 4 each. Thompson and Freshman Kayce Zanetell hit for single buckets and Missy Grollnek added a free throw.
Williams led a balanced attack with 12 points.
The surprising Angels would go on to win the whole tourney, beating a solid Lutheran Prince of Peace team, a perennial TAPPS playoff team in another closely contested game for the tourney title.
The Mustangs’ best team effort came in round two versus Paris Home School in a 43-30 victory. McAdams led the Mustangs once again with 19 points,13 rebounds, and 6 steals, but more of the Mustangs got into the act substantially as Thompson had 8 points and 6 steals, Lemieux had 6 points and 6 steals and Zanetell added 5 points and 7 boards. Grubbs hit for 3 points and had 7 thefts and Grollnek closed the scoring with 2.
McAdams had an admirable tourney as she averaged 18.3 points and 12 rebounds for the three games.