By Drew Karpen
January 12, 2013 7:00 a.m. EDINBORO —
It wasn’t easy, but the General McLane girls basketball team accomplished a feat that no other team has done this year — beat North East. In front of a record-setting crowd of 518, the Lancers were able to knock off the Lady Grapepickers 42-37 in Region 4 action at General McLane High School on Friday night.
“Tonight our student section was great,” General McLane head coach Sarah Jay said. “It’s because of my players. They are good kids. At General McLane we are close knit. Being the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the region was a help. People want to come out and see good basketball and that’s what they saw tonight.”
Coming into the game the Lady ’Pickers (9-1, 3-1 Region 4) and the Lancers (9-1, 4-0) were the top two teams, respectively. General McLane now leads Region 4 as the lone undefeated team in region play.
Both teams looked a little rusty at first. With just over four minutes gone in the first quarter, North East had a 1-0 lead. The Lady ’Pickers would record the first bucket of the game with a Madison Turczek layup. Down 5-0, the Lancers knew it was time to kick it into gear.
Sophomore sensation Michelle Jahn quickly got the Lancers back into the game with back-to-back 3-pointers, the latter being off an inbounds play.
“I stressed before the game that we never seem to warm up enough. We always seem to come out of the blocks slow,” Jay said. “I wasn’t worried. I knew my girls would get into it.”
Luckily for Jay, North East was struggling to find their rhythm as well.
General McLane took a slight edge at 10-7 heading into the second quarter.
Things were looking up for McLane when Michelle Jahn drained two free throws to give the Lancers a 12-7 lead. The Lady ’Pickers showed why they are one of the best teams in the area, putting together a 6-0 spurt to take a one-point lead. Both teams would continue to exchange baskets into the half.
North east came out hungry in the second half, going on a 6-2 run to take their biggest lead of the game, 23-18.
In the first half it was Michelle Jahn that led the charge with 10 points. In the second half, Jahn was leading the comeback, but this time it was senior Lindsey Jahn.
Lindsey Jahn recorded the next four points in the game to cut the deficit to one.
“It’s great,” Lindsey Jahn said about having a balanced team. “It helps everyone relax a little. No one feels the pressure of having to carry the team. We can rely on each other. No one has to feel the burden of doing everything. It makes it a lot easier and a lot more fun.”
But North East had an answer. Leah Kowalewski completed a 3-point play to increase the lead back to four.
The Lady ’Pickers’ Alex Artise converted on a jumper for a 28-22 lead.
With the deficit at four entering the final quarter, it was now or never for the Lancers.
It wasn’t looking good at the start as Artise rattled home a 3-pointer to push the lead to 31-24. With a possession that could not afford to have no points, Michelle Jahn found her stroke and drilled a 3 from the top of the key.
With 4:30 remaining in the game, Lindsey Jahn found her range, connecting on a 3-pointer from the corner to bring the deficit back to 3. That’s when the momentum and the raucous crowd started to swing in McLane’s favor.
Following a North east turnover, Lindsey Jahn would pinpoint a pass to the cutting Louisa Lytle for a layup. On their next possession, the Lancers took the lead back for good, 34-33, on a Lytle floater in the lane.
With a 3-point lead, senior Katie Clark provided the nail in the coffin to the Lady ’Pickers.
With 2:31 left on the clock, Clark heaved up a prayer from the top of the key, only to see it bank in.
“In last year’s game Katie had 15 points in the first quarter against them,” Jay said. “No I wasn’t surprised but I was relieved once I saw it go in. We didn’t need it but it was huge. That was a back breaker for them.”
It also proved to be game, set, and match. North East could not overcome the deficit in the short amount a time, and found themselves with their heads down for the first time this year after the final buzzer.
“North East is a great team,” Lindsey Jahn said. “They have a bunch of great seniors. We knew going into it we would have to play great defense and that’s what we did.”
Michelle Jahn led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds. Her older sister, Lindsey was right behind her with 13 points. Clark chipped in with seven.