LOGAN — The Lady Tigers found themselves at Logan High School on Wednesday night fighting for a chance to go to the Regional finals game on Saturday. The only thing that stood in their way were the Lady Dragons of Fairland High School and their 6-4 center Terra Stapleton. After four quarters of play, the McClain girls basketball team fell to Fairland with a score of 64-42.
Shania Massie led her team and the game with 18 points while her teammate, Katy Unger, chipped in 12.
Stapleton, who will be playing at the University of Michigan next year, led her team with 14 points while Taylor Perry scored 13 and Kelsey Riley and Caitlin Stone scored 11 a piece.
“I’m very proud of my girls’ effort,” Lady Tigers coach Jarrod Haines said after the game. “Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way and tonight was one of those nights.”
The game started off rocky for both squads. In the first minute of the game, the two teams combined for seven turnovers. Fairland was the first to get into the scoring column with a basket by Kelsey Riley at the 6:15 mark in the first, which she followed with another layup off a steal 14 seconds later. This made it 4-0 and forced a McClain timeout.
Fairland didn’t let the pause in the action slow down their run and they scored eight more unanswered points to bring their lead to 12-0 with 1:50 left to play. The Lady Tigers were able to finally get on the board with a layup from Katy Unger with 1:23 left and a three point basket by Shania Massie with 28 seconds to play. But the possession after Massie’s three, Fairland was fouled on a made three point basket and capitalized at the line and finished off the first quarter with a buzzer beater by Taylor Perry. This brought the total to 19-5 in favor of the Lady Dragons.
“You can’t come out out flat like we did tonight,” Haines said of his team’s slow start. “[Fairland] really took advantage of that in the first quarter. This team is weathered and has been here before, and we just didn’t seem to have our heads in it in the first.”
The Lady Tigers shook off the first quarter when the buzzer sounded for the start of the next eight minute frame. They were able to almost triple their first quarter score, and ended the quarter down 31-19 going into the half.
After the half, McClain looked as if they might be able to pull themselves back and give Fairland a run for their money. The third quarter started with Katy Unger making a basket underneath by going over the taller defender in Stapleton. This made in 31-21 and brought the Lady Tigers back to within ten points. Unfortunately, over the next five minutes of play, the Lady Dragons went on a 17-3 run to pull away with the lead and take away all hope for the McClain girls. The third quarter ended with a score of 52-28.
In the fourth quarter, McClain was able to outscore Fairland by two points but they could not shave the lead enough and fell to the Lady Dragons 64-42.
“Tonight we would do something good and then Fairland would do something great,” Haines said after the season-ending loss. “They’re shooting threes that were bouncing up and almost touching the ceiling and then going through the net. You have to have a little bit of luck like that and we really couldn’t find anything to go our way.”
The Fairland basketball team came into the game having won their third straight District championship the game before.
“They’re an experienced team that has been here before and you could really tell that,” Haines said about the Fairland Lady Dragons. “They didn’t really get flustered with anything that we’d come at them with. We tried to bring some double and triple teams and they’d find someone open and hit a three. They’d get the ball down low to [Stapleton] and she’d split the double team and score. She makes the game totally different and when they’re shooting like that from the outside, which you’re inviting them to do, and knocking them down, it’s really going to be tough if you’re not hitting shots.”
McClain will graduate four seniors in Tara Karnes, Katy Unger, Caitlyn Lovett and Allison Willett and Haines had nothing but positives and encouraging words to say about his senior leaders.
“We have four young ladies who are upset [in the locker room] but they gave everything they had to this program,” Haines said. “They’ve worked so hard to get to where they are.
“First I’d like to talk about Katy Unger,” Haines continued. “Katy’s offensive performance tonight was outstanding. There’s no fear in her. She was not afraid all all to take the ball to the basket. She finished and she scored and had one of her biggest offensive outputs of the year.
“Tara [Karnes], of course, has been our big post presence all year,” Haines said. “They had [Stapleton] on her all night on the block. It’s going to be tough when you’re going up against (someone who is) 6-4.
“Ally [Willett] played tough tonight and got after it for us. Caitlyn [Lovett] is a great teammate, hard worker, and there’s nothing negative to say about her.”
The McClain Lady Tigers ended their season with a record of 15-8 overall and finished third in the South Central Ohio League with a record of 7-5.
Rounding out the scoring for McClain: Taylor Polley had five; Karnes, 3; Beth Montgomery, 2; Willet, one and Sarah Thompson, one.
Score by quarters
FHS – 19 12 21 12 – 64
GMHS – 5 14 9 14 – 42