McKinney Christian Academy’s girls basketball team gave a valiant effort Friday night in their bid for a first place tie with Dallas Lutheran, but fell one shot short in a 33-31 defeat at the MCA Joshua Gymnasium. Entering the contest Lutheran was 8-0 in district play and MCA was 7-1, their only loss a last minute defeat at Lutheran two weeks ago.
Like the last time the teams met, this game was not decided until the final seconds. The Mustangs had three consecutive shots in the final 30 seconds to win or tie but failed to convert and the Lady Lions escaped with the first place prize.
The Mustangs must settle now for second place heading into next weeks’
This game proved every bit the match it was expected to be. Two good teams who tied for the district title last year with split victories went at each other for all they were worth. Lutheran took an early advantage 4-0 on baskets by player the 2011 player of the year, Minnie Essien and H .Heil. MCA answered back on baskets by their scoring leaders Kaitlynn Mcadams and Julies James for a 4-4 tie. Sophomore Sarah Grubbs got into the action with a putback and when James was fouled on a layup off of a steal, was fouled and converted the freethrow as well, the Mustangs were up 9-8. Essein answered back with a driving layup, however, and it was 10-9 Lutheran after one.
They Mustangs asserted themselves in the second as James and McAdams scored again and the Mustang defense stiffened against the potent Lady Lions. McAdams then went outside for a three pointer and added another bank shot and MCA led 19-17 at the half . Essein had all 7 Lutheran points in the second and at the half each team’s scoring star and the two top candidates for player of the year this year, Essein and McAdams, each had 11 points at the half.
When the third quarter began the Mustangs knew first place was within their grasp, but sometimes saying it and doing it are two different things. The defense was in good form and effort holding the Lions to 7 points as they gave up their first and only three of the night to Krause, but the offensive shots would not fall. The Lions ramped up their pressure on the James at the point and McAdams at the post as the Mustangs struggled for only two points in the third, a 12 footer by McAdams, as they fell behind 24-21 after 3.
The fourth period would prove to be an exciting affair, but one in which the Mustangs will wonder what might have been. James hit a 16 footer from just inside the arc and then hit one of two free throws. Sophmore backup shooting guard Lauren Sanford was substituted in for offense and subsequently found the range on two straight 17 footers and the Mustangs were in the hunt. Lutheran, meanwhile, was doing most of their damage from the line on 3 of 4 by Heil and 2 of 2 by Essein and with 2 minutes to play it was 29-27 Lutheran. Essein then bulled into McAdams who was playing on a bad ankle from the previous nights volleyball practice, converted the post move for a 31-27 advantage. James answered with a drive on the right side and the deficit was back to two at 31-29. It was then that Heil made the most unusual shot of the night, a running one hander from 15 feet, a shot the Mustangs would have encouraged, but it swished the net for a 33-29 lead.
It can be said again that these Mustangs have no quit in them and they contined to prove their mettle down the stretch. James fought to the lane for another basket and it was 33-31. The defense then turned up the heat and produced another steal giving the offense another chance to tie or take the lead. With 30 seconds to go, the Mustangs worked the ball to Sanford who lofted a high arcing shot from behind
the arc that appeared to be headed for the net, but just rimmed out. The Mustangs rebounded , got a shot in the lane, but that, too, was errant and Lutheran took the ball to their end. Inexplicably, a young Lutheran guard threw up a 15 footer that missed . The Mustangs quickly corraled the gift and called time out to set up a last play with 14.9 ticks to go.
James quickly advanced the ball against the Mustang press and hit McAdams coming off of a screen on the right side beyond the arc. The Lions swarmed and McAdams tried to get a clean look for the win. It can be debated from here to Sunday if she was fouled, but it won’t do anyone anygood. The ball fell short and the Mustangs will have to settle for all things second – bananas, fiddles, silver medals, and second place in TAPPS 4-3A.
James led MCA with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists . McAdams followed with 13 points and 6 boards and one impressive block on Essein. Sanford finished with 4 and Grubbs two to round out the Mustang scoring.
Essein led all scoreers with 15 and Heil finished with 11. Jr Sid Thompson and Fr Kayce Zanetell hel the Lions #2 scorer, Bartel to two free throws and Lemieux limited Krause to the one three pointer.