Great Falls In a girls’ high school basketball cross-town rival matchup last week, the McLean Highlanders edged the Langley Saxons, 40-38, in the Liberty District contest played at Langley High School.
McLean, with the win, improved its overall record to 8-7 overall and 4-3 in the district. Langley, meanwhile, saw its record fall to 5-11 and 4-4.
“The key [to the win] was playing strong defense to keep the game within reach until we started to make some shots,” said McLean head coach Mike O’Brien, whose club trailed by 10 points at one point in the second half before rallying to win.
The Highlanders trailed 30-22 after three quarters before outscoring the home team Saxons 18-8 to pull off the comeback.
Junior forward Lisa Murphy, McLean’s leading scorer and rebounder this season, led the Highlanders with 20 points, while both Lexi Slotkoff, a junior forward, and Christy Warren, a sophomore wing, contributed eight points. Slotkoff, who came off the bench, scored all of her points in the game-turning fourth quarter. Defensively, O’Brien said his team was led by senior guard Caroline Gray and junior point guard Evelyn Robinson.
Langley, which was ahead 20-14 at halftime, received 14 points from Jessica Stewart and 12 from Grace Goettman.
McLean has dealt with its share of injury struggles. Warren is coming off a summer in which she underwent knee surgery. The Highlanders have been without point guard Elena Karakozoff (ACL injury), who was injured during a holiday tournament, and post player Maia Lee (foot injury).
McLean has not been able to put together any win streaks of more than two games. On the other hand, the Highlanders have also averted any losing streaks of more than two games. The team’s wins this season have come over Washington-Lee (National District), Westfield (Concorde District), South Lakes, Stafford High (Northwest Region), Lake Braddock (Patriot District), Marshall, Jefferson, and Langley.
The victories over South Lakes, Marshall, Jefferson, and the Saxons were all district contests.
This past Friday night, in the second meeting of the season against South Lakes, McLean lost at home to the Seahawks, 54-43. The Highlanders led 15-14 after one quarter before South Lakes outscored the host McLean team 15-8 in the second quarter to take a 29-23 lead into the halftime. South Lakes outscored McLean 25-20 in the second half.
McLean’s top scorers in the South Lakes game were Murphy (16 points), Gtay (12), and junior guard Shellie Kanuit (8).
McLean was scheduled to play just one game this week – on Monday, Jan. 23 at district opponent Madison. The Highlanders’ next home game is scheduled for next Tuesday, Jan. 31 versus Marshall.
THE LANGLEY HIGH boys’ basketball team improved its unbeaten record in the Liberty District to 8-0 last Friday night when the Saxons won on the road at Jefferson, 58-50. It was the sixth straight win for Langley, which is 10-5 overall.
Langley, which scored seven points to Jefferson’s two in a low-scoring first quarter, received a balanced scoring attack in the win which included solid games from junior guard Justin Galiani (14 points), senior guard Joey Robinson (14), senior guard Tristan Evans (13), sophomore guard Garrett Collier (9), and senior guard Daniel Dixon (6).
Earlier last week on Tuesday, Jan. 17, Langley defeated visitor and district rival McLean in overtime, 55-52. It was just the third loss of the season for McLean (14-3 overall, 6-2 district), which bounced back three days later with a 66-53 district win at South Lakes.
For Langley, the win over McLean gave it some breathing room in the Liberty District standings. The Saxons’ scoring leaders versus the Highlanders were Dixon (18 points), Galiani (15), Evans (10), and junior center Brad Dotson (8).
Dixon scored six of his points in the extra session to lead Langley to the win.
For McLean, Thomas Van Wazer scored 14 points, Sango Amolo 12, and John Pascoe eight. Daniel Lewis and Gordon Rogo both scored five each.
In action this week, McLean will travel to Stone Bridge for a district game on Thursday, Jan. 26. Langley, meanwhile, was set to play district home games versus South Lakes on Monday, Jan. 23 and Fairfax on Thursday, Jan. 26.