GREENFIELD — The Miami Trace Panthers needed to regroup at halftime as they trailed the McClain Tigers by a score of 27-18.
Whatever was said in the locker room, the Panthers came out on fire in the second half, going on a 14-0 run in the first three minutes of the third period, including a 6-0 spurt in the first 37 seconds of the half, en route to a 56-38 win over the Tigers in SCOL action at McClain High School Friday night.
The win lifts the Panthers to 5-5 in the SCOL, 9-7 overall.
McClain falls to 2-9 in the SCOL, 3-13 overall
The game started very well for the Tigers as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
At the end of the first quarter, McClain was on top, 12-4.
McClain twice led by as many as 10 points in the second quarter. The Panthers were as close as five points behind in the early going on the second.
McClain took a 27-18 lead going into the locker room.
The Panthers came out on a mission in the third quarter and defensively were double and triple-teaming any McClain player with the ball.
Miami Trace hit a bucket and then scored two more baskets quickly after steals for a 37-second 6-0 run.
It was a veritable frenzy of Miami Trace players getting after it on defense, creating havoc for McClain, coming up with numerous steals and causing the Tigers an inordinate amount of difficulty to ever get into an offensive set.
Within the first two minutes of the third quarter, Miami Trace had erased McClain’s 9-point halftime lead to take their first lead of the game, 29-27.
After a three by Blake Pittser, McClain’s Zach Peck scored the Tigers’ first basket of the second half at the 5:06 mark.
Miami Trace did not take its collective foot of the pedal, promptly going on a 12-0 run to lead 44-29 with just a minute to play in the third.
Pittser hit a shot at the buzzer to give the Panthers a 46-31 lead. In all, it was a 28-4 quarter for the Panthers.
The game settled back down for the most part in the fourth quarter, the Panthers outscoring McClain, 10-7 to take the 56-38 victory.
Miami Trace head coach Rob Pittser talked about the turnaround in his post-game comments.
“It had very little to do with x’s and o’s and a whole lot to do with the mental approach to competitive athletics,” Pittser said. “If you’re not the aggressor; if you’re not in an attacking mentality; if you’re sitting back, being passive, uncertain, and I thought we were all of those things in the first half, it’s never going to work out well for you.
“You have to bring the right mindset,” Pittser said. “Fortunately, we were able to flip the switch at halftime and have a real good second half.
“It’s a style we feel we need to play,” Pittser said. “We feel like we have to play uptempo and we have to press and trap. That’s what you saw tonight to begin the third quarter. That (start to the second half) gave our kids confidence and they were able to keep it rolling a little bit.”
“We tried to slow the pace with our zone,” McClain head coach Jesse Mitchell said. “I think we did that. When they started to press, we just freaked out. It’s not like we haven’t seen a press. Every team presses us. We work on it every day.
“Give them credit,” Mitchell said. “They turned up the intensity and they made some shots and they started rolling. We’ve lost 10 in a row. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. That’s what I told them. Everyone is going to come out to beat you. This is McClain basketball. We’ve got a reputation. We have to fight for each other, pick ourselves up and come out here and play tomorrow.”
Junior Blake Pittser led the Panthers with 13 points and four assists.
Junior DeAndre Pettiford had 11 points and led the Panthers with seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
Junior Matt Barton led McClain with 14 points.
Junior Jacob Starkey led the Tigers with seven rebounds.
Elsewhere in the SCOL Friday, Washington defeated Clinton-Massie, 65-55, to improve to 10-1 in the SCOL, 14-2 overall.
Massie remains in fifth place in the SCOL at 3-7 (5-9 overall).
Wilmington beat Hillsboro, 116-28. The Hurricane are now 12-0 in the SCOL, 16-1 overall.
Chillicothe topped East Clinton, 75-48 to improve to 9-3 in the SCOL, 10-8 overall. The Cavaliers are one and one-half games behind the Blue Lions, in third in the league.
East Clinton falls to 1-11 in the SCOL, 5-13 overall.
Miami Trace will make the trip over into Vinton County to take on the Vikings Saturday with the j-v game at 4:45 p.m.
McClain is at home Saturday evening, taking on Huntington.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 4 14 28 10 — 56
Mc 12 15 4 7 — 38
MIAMI TRACE — Blake Pittser 2 (3)-0-13; DeAndre Pettiford 5-1-11; Tyrae Pettiford 3-3-9; Darby Tyree 3-2-8; Skyler McDonald 0 (2)-1-7; Cameron Carter 2-1-5; Keondrick Bryant 1-0-2; Mitchell Creamer 0-1-1; Brad Card 0-0-0; Jacob Batson 0-0-0; Tiante Connell 0-0-0; Seth Leach 0-0-0. TOTALS — 16 (5)-9-56. Free throw shooting: 9 of 18 for 50 percent. Three-point field goals: Pittser, 3; McDonald, 2. Combined field goal shooting: 21 of 49 for 42 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 21 for 23 percent. Rebounds: 24 (8 offensive). Assists: 11. Steals: 24. Blocks: 4. Turnovers: 19.
McCLAIN — Mat Barton 1 (4)-0-14; Randall Mischal 1 (1)-2-7; Zach Peck 3-0-6; Jacob Starkey 2-1-5; Cody Hardesty 1-0-2; Owen O’Connor 1-0-2; Landree Gray 1-0-2; Alex Hollar 0-0-0; Jensen Knaff 0-0-0; Lane Hester 0-0-0. TOTALS — 10 (5)-3-38. Free throw shooting: 3 of 5 for 60 percent. Three-point field goals: Barton, 4; Mischal. Combined field goal shooting: 15 of 49 for 30 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 16 for 31 percent. Rebounds: 32 (13 offensive). Assists: 6. Steals: 10. Turnovers: 30.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1