The McClintock varsity girls basketball team lost 38-35 in the final seconds of their Friday night home game against conference competitors, the Raymond S. Kellis Cougars.
But, McClintock’s head coach, Sherre Walker, and her team are approaching the game as a victory.
“With these group of girls, they were pressing hard. We were going through different ups and downs, but tonight showed that they were able to pull it off,” Walker said.
Senior power forward Dionna Red Bear led the team with 15 points, including four consecutive field goals in the fourth quarter. Walker called her one of the leaders on the team and a key player in Friday night’s game.
“She was really crashing the boards, and that’s the stuff we need,” Walker said.
Leading 17-15 at half, McClintock entered the third quarter with pressure in their zone-coverage and strong offensive drives. Four different players put points on the board in the third quarter.
Senior captain and power forward Marissa Brantley said communication made this game one of the best all season. Brantley currently leads the team in rebounds, according to MaxPreps.
“We worked as a team actually,” Brantley said.
Walker encouraged her team to be vocal on defense throughout the game. She said the second half showcased her team’s passion and fight until the buzzer.
“We knew that they were getting frustrated, and we just used that against them,” Red bear said of the second half offensive and defensive pressure from her team.
Freshman point guard, Rachel Early, the second-highest scorer with 11 points, said the team performed to the best of their abilities on both sides of the ball Friday night with more rebounds and open looks.
“If somebody missed a shot, we were right there to back it up,” Early said.
It was turnovers that McClintock struggled with most in the second half, according to Walker.
The McClintock Chargers are 2-18 overall and in the midst of a six-game losing streak. They are 1-11 in the 5A Metro conference. Raymond S. Kellis moves to 7-12 overall, breaking a three-game losing streak.
Kellis’ head coach Andrew Hogg said his team ran a new press in the second half and cleaned up rebounds to clinch the last-second win.
“I’m a little bit stressed,” Hogg said at the end of the game. “But the girls played hard, played to the end and made our free throws down the stretch.”
After putting up 15 total points in the first half, Kellis gained 14 points in just the third quarter and 23 in the second half. They converted on nine of 15 free throws in the second half.
With five games left in the season, including a rematch against Kellis at the end of the month, McClintock hopes to end with the same continuous level of playing as they showed Friday night, but Early admits the program is young. She hopes her team can showcase the high level of play they are capable of.
“We just channel it [passion] by knowing we are so much better than how we play, and that every day we practice and every day we put in is just another day worth getting better, and we want to show it to everybody,” Early said.
McClintock plays Ironwood high school on the road next Friday January 23.