Plains tops Southeastern, eyes showdown with Clinton-Massie
By Chris Miles
At times it seemed like the Madison-Plains girls basketball team was simply going through the motions.
The Golden Eagles ran their record to 11-1 with a 53-40 victory over visiting Southeastern Thursday, but everyone in and around the program knows they’re going to need to bring a lot more intensity when they step on the floor next.
MPHS will welcome in South Central Ohio League favorite Clinton-Massie Saturday at 1 p.m. in a key matchup.
But before the team could get to the showdown with Massie, it had to get by a feisty bunch of Trojans from Southeastern.
Plains got off to a strong start. It led 16-5 late in the first quarter and seemed to be on the verge of running the visitors off the court.
But as quickly as shots were falling, they began to miss their mark allowing the Trojans to claw their way back in it.
On two separate occasions in the second quarter the visitors got to within a bucket but the Golden Eagles were able to come up with a big bucket of their own. They took a 25-21 lead to the locker room at halftime.
“I thought everything was going well there, shots were falling,” MPHS coach Chris Laslo said. “I don’t know, I guess we went a little bit cold there offensively.
“They started to heat up and their shots started falling, we tried a couple different things to slow them down a bit, but we went back to what was working and we kind of got out of our shooting slump.”
The scored remained tight, through three quarters Plains held a 34-31 lead. It was a one point game before an unlikely hero emerged for the home team.
The Golden Eagles have four seniors and four juniors on the roster, but it was the play of freshman guard Macy McCollister that made the difference down the stretch.
McCollister scored 11 straight points for the Eagles in a 3:22 span of the fourth quarter, which included a three-pointer, a steal and a layup, an old fashion three-point play and another bucket from beyond the arc to provide a little breathing room for the home team.
“Macy brings a lot to this team,” the coach said. “Athleticism, basketball smarts, just talent. The girls enjoy being around her. She’s a good leader, she knows what to do with the ball. She knows when to pass, knows when to shoot, she’s just very, very smart.”
Her skill set isn’t lost on her teammates.
“It helps having her out there,” senior Abby Finney said. “When she’s on fire like she was tonight that really helps.
“She fits right in with all of us. We were really excited to have her come in as a freshman and play with us. She’s played really well. She’s exceeded our expectations.”
Finney and McCollister shared team-high scoring honors with 13 points apiece.
Senior Kelsey Woodyard added nine and fellow seniors Abby Ames and Casey Knisley each finished with seven.
With the contest with powerful Clinton-Massie now on the table, the Eagles are confident they can make a game of it.
“If we can shoot like we did tonight, slow Massie down a little bit and take advantage with our posts,” Laslo said. “I do know that one of their posts is injured, a key player. That could possibly give us an advantage.”
“It’s a big, big game,” Finney said. “We just need to be effective on every drive, every play. We need to minimize our turnovers and just be mentally tough.
“Coming in we know we’re the underdogs. We’re probably not as big as them or as fast but we believe we can do it. We need to have that in our minds going into the game.”
Worthington Christian 55,
Shekinah Christian 47
There’s no way he would ever use it as an excuse, but going 17 days without a game is probably not the ideal situation going into a contest with mighty Worthington Christian.
Shekinah coach Rod Yoder’s bunch couldn’t shake off the rust and still have enough to beat one of the better teams in the Central District Thursday.
“It was a long layoff but they’re a very solid team,” Yoder said. “They’re 9-1 now and will be a very tough team to beat come tournament time.”
The Flames (6-3) were led in scoring by Bridget Troyer’s 20 points, Annelise Rohrer added eight in the loss.
“We practiced quite a bit in that time, but not playing since (December) the 17th probably hurt us a little bit.
Shekinah will play at Gahanna Christian on Monday.
Jonathan Alder 26
The Pioneers continued to struggle offensively as they suffered their third straight defeat Wednesday at Bellefontaine.
The team now sports a 2-8 record, which includes a pair of forfeited victories from earlier this season. The wins on the court which were turned into losses came over London and Shekinah Christian last month.
Alder will next take the court in home with Groveport on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Cruisers have also only won two games this season (2-6).