Friday, March 7, 2014
By RACHEL LENZI, Staff Writer
PORTLAND — Paul True will admit that it’s been a bit of a challenge to bring out the assertive side of Morgan McClean’s game.
But the Lake Region girls’ basketball coach has to be pleased with McClean’s aggressive efforts in a 46-21 win over Lisbon in a Western Class B semifinal.
“She’s huge for us,” True said of McClean, who scored eight points and provided a valuable presence in the paint for the Lakers.
“She’s kind of the unsung hero, and she’s very, very unselfish. We’re just trying to get her to be a little more aggressive.”
Tuesday night at the Portland Expo, McClean’s ferociousness emerged on the court.
The senior forward’s play in the paint on offense and defense set the tone for the Lakers, who led by as many as 26 points and gave up only one field goal in the second half.
“It worked,” McClean said of her aggressive approach. “Coach is always telling me to get more aggressive. It definitely set some sort of intensity for us.”
Meghan Craffey led No. 4 Lake Region (15-4) with 14 points. The Lakers will face either top-ranked York at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in a Western Class B semifinal at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
McClean scored five of Lake Region’s first nine points and paced the Lakers’ inside game early against the No. 5 Greyhounds (14-5).
“Her play was huge, particularly in the first quarter,” True said.
“We got off to a good start and a lot of that was because of Morgan.”
The Greyhounds were 2 for 5 from the floor in the first quarter as the Lakers built a 17-6 lead in the first minute of the second quarter on McClean’s basket.
Lisbon slowly came back, cutting the lead to 20-15 with 34 seconds left in the half on Allicyn Fitzgerald’s shot.
But Kelsey Winslow’s basket just before the buzzer stretched Lake Region’s lead to 22-15 at halftime.
Abby Hancock (eight points) opened the second half with back-to-back baskets – a two-point shot about 1:30 in, followed by a 3-pointer with 4:50 left in the third – and the Lakers scored the next six points.
The Lakers held the Greyhounds without a successful shot in the second half until Jessica Campbell completed a three-point play with 22.6 seconds left in the third.
The Lakers limited the Greyhounds to three points in the fourth – all on free throws.
Renee Moore scored nine points to lead Lisbon, which finished 1 for 21 from the floor in the second half.
“We played multiple defenses in the second half, and the kids did a really nice job making subtle adjustments with that,” True said.
“I thought that was the big difference in the second half.”
Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be contacted at 791-6415 or at: