By Pete Chiodo
February 27, 2013 7:00 a.m. ERIE —
Tuesday night did not go quite according to plan for the General McLane boys basketball team.
The biggest issue was that the Lancers found themselves locked out of their locker room after their game with East, forcing them to stand around in the hallway at the Mercyhurst University athletic center for about 10 annoying minutes.
The game itself? Oh, that went just fine. McLane dispatched East 76-50, moving on to the District 10 Class AAA championship game.
“It’s better to not be able to get into your locker room after a win than after a loss,” said Lancers head coach Andy Schulz. “I would have been feeling a little bit more toasted.”
Next up for McLane (19-5) will be a title showdown against Girard, which beat Strong Vincent last night 46-39. The game is Friday at a time and location to be announced.
“Girard’s good,” said Schulz. “They beat us twice. We’re co-region champs. As I’ve said before, we have a very proud program here at General McLane. And they do too. We have a lot of admiration for them and what they’ve done. And we have a lot of mutual respect for each other. And I know it will be a heck of a game. We’ll play our hardest and I know they will.”
Last night against East, Quinn Thompson led the Lancers with a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double. Jaymon Mason also scored 24.
McLane had two more in double digits with Lukas Hallett scoring 13 while Clay Smith recorded 11. They both knocked down three treys in the game. Hallett was 3-for-4 from the arc. Smith was 3-for-5.
“I thought we were more balanced than we had been,” said Schulz. “It’s been one of our keys to get some pressure off Jaymon and we need Quinn to score inside. And Brett (Kulka) came in had nine big rebounds. Clay hit some outside shots and Lukas contributed offensively.
“We said two or three weeks ago, for us to be a better team we needed better production all around, from all our players. And (last night) we did that.”
East came out and focused a lot of its defensive effort on Mason, McLane’s top scoring threat. That tactic opened things up inside for Thompson, who scored nine points in the first quarter, which the Lancers won 16-5. And he added seven more in the second quarter, giving him 16 for the half, which went McLane’s way 39-22.
“We got the ball inside really well, and I think that helped a lot,” said Thompson. “That, and the outside shooting, helped kicking it out to the 3-point line to get some shots.”
Smith hit back-to-back treys for McLane in the second quarter. Hallett also had a 3 in the period.
Mason found a little more room to maneuver in the second half and started blazing trails to the hoop to score some up-close buckets and draw fouls.
He was 7-for-8 from the line in the third quarter while scoring 11 points. He had only scored seven over the first two periods. He then added two more freebies in the fourth — making him 10-of-11 for the game — and scored six points total to finish the night with a double-dozen.
“We just came in confident,” said Mason. “We knew we beat them twice, but we didn’t let that bother us. We knew they were a different team now than they were back then. But we came in with the same mentality — just play hard.”
For East, Kyree Kirkland led the way with 17 points. Melvyn Henderson followed with 14.
The Warriors are now 12-12. They advance to the consolation final to face Strong Vincent, also on Friday at a site and time to be determined.