Sports

Lady Highlanders Use Depth, Solid Plays to Beat Statesmen

The McLean High School girls basketball team had an early test in 2010 as the squad faced off against

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The Lady Highlanders at practice. (Photo: Robert Fulton)

Marshall on Monday. The Highlanders rallied from an early deficit to win 51-35, improving their record to 6-3.

“I thought Marshall would be one of the teams we’d be going head-to-head with come the end of the year, standings wise,” said McLean head coach Mike O’Brien. The loss drops the Statesmen to 6-4.

The Highlanders fell behind by five points in the first quarter before getting in gear.

“We just missed our shots,” said O’Brien. “The kids came out at half-time with a lead and they extended that lead, and that’s what we stressed at halftime, to not let them creep back in it. It shows my kids are sort of learning and growing up a bit.”

The win was an important one for McLean against a strong rival, and who will hold local supremacy is anyone’s guess.

“I think our district can be that way all year long,” said O’Brien. “It can be very one-game-to-the-next, and you got to be ready to play every night.”

At the half-way mark of the season, O’Brien is happy where the team is, but believes the squad could be even better.

“I thought we let one or two games slip away from us, where we had a chance and it could have gone either way down the stretch,” he said.. “But that’s what the early games are for, and hopefully the experience will pay off later in the year for us.”

The coach is happiest with the depth of his well-balanced squad.

“I’m learning out my rotation,” O’Brien said.

“I have a pretty deep group this year,” he added. “As I’ve expressed to my girls, if someone is having an off night, we have the depth to be able to fill in. We can make up for someone having an off night here and there.

“We have a good mix of an inside-outside game. We run the floor pretty well.

“For years I’ve been very defensive oriented,” the coach continued. “We’re trying to do a little bit of a transition to where we’re running a little up-tempo on the break, but I do still preference everything off of us playing good man-to-man D.”

Marshall has had a number of contributors on the court, and one of the team leaders has been senior Melissa Wilson.

“I feel like it’s a good start,” said Wilson. “I think we’ll be a strong team this year just by how we’re starting out. Our defense has always been really strong because that’s what coach O’Brien stresses, but we also have a lot of underclassmen who’ve stepped up that have good shots.”

If Wilson is McLean’s post-position yin, then Junior guard Andie Romness is her team’s perimeter yang.

“I think just our focus fore the game in the locker room, I don’t think it was really there.,” Romness said of the game against Marshall. “Then once we started playing, we realized we  . . . had to pick it up.”

And picking it up is what the Highlanders have done so far this season.

“We have so much potential to do really well this year,” said Romness. I think (our record) is where we should be, if not better.”

McLean is home against South Lakes on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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