By Lisa Byers
CONNEAUT LAKE —
General McLane was seemingly in control, leading 23-15 with 4:29 to play in the second quarter. But just 30 seconds into the second half the Lady Lancers were looking up at a tied score on the scoreboard.
Reason to panic? Not with the Lancers’ tenacious man-to-man defense and a senior leader like Lindsey Jahn.
Jahn scored 10 of her 11 points in the second half and the Lancers forced 13 second-half turnovers in a 56-42 win over Mercer on Wednesday in the District 10 Class AA semifinals at Conneaut Lake Middle School.
General McLane improved to 22-2 on the year and advances to the District 10 title game to face Region 4 rival North East on Saturday at a site and time to be determined. Mercer fell to 17-7. The Lady M’s will take on Sharpsville in the District 10 consolation game also on Saturday at a site and time to be determined with the district’s third and final state playoff spot on the line.
“I knew that I needed to step up,” Jahn said. “People weren’t hitting and as a senior that is what you need to do. I just told everyone we needed to be more intense on defense and everyone contributed; everyone tipped balls for steals and all of that stuff.
“It ended up working out.”
McLane led 17-12 at the end of the first quarter and extended that lead to eight (23-15) with 4:29 to play in the second quarter. But Mercer closed out the quarter with a 7-2 run, which included its fourth 3-pointer of the game to close to within just three (24-21) at the break.
The Lady M’s tied it up at 24-24 with another 3-pointer at the start of the second half — the second of the game for Alexis Mills. McLane did eventually push its lead back to five (30-25) on a steal and fastbreak layup by Katie Rodrigues with 4:27 to play in the third. But it didn’t take long for the M’s to come charging back. With just under three minutes to play, Mercer was back to within three (34-31).
That’s when Jahn and the Lancers’ ‘D’ took charge.
Jahn hit her first field goal of the night — a 3-pointer with 1:29 to play in the third quarter — to give the Lancers a 37-31 lead and opened the fourth with five straight points to extend that lead to 13 (44-31).
Jahn’s outburst was part of a 15-0 run by the Lancers that lasted nearly seven minutes and put them in control, 49-31.
A key for the Lancers was their ability to get Mercer star Lexie Arkwright in foul trouble early. And when she picked up her fourth, Jahn, who Arkwright had the task of guarding, took advantage.
“Getting their star in foul trouble helped a lot,” General McLane coach Sarah Jay said. “If you get their best player in foul trouble, they are going to struggle like any team will. We just kept attacking her and when she picked up her fourth we got some easy baskets because we went to Lindsey and (Arkwright) couldn’t really do anything because she didn’t want to foul out.
“I think that helped us stretch a little lead.”
McLane finished with 19 steals and outrebounded the M’s 30-25 with 15 of those coming on the defensive end. Lindsey Jahn finished with seven steals and a team-best nine rebounds. Michelle Jahn and Katie Rodrigues, who played an outstanding all-around game, had three steals each.
“Everyone wanted this game,” Lindsey Jahn said. “We knew we had to pick up our defense especially in the fourth quarter if we wanted to win this game.”
The Lancers finished with four players in double figures. Michelle Jahn led the way with 13 points followed by Rodrigues with 12, Lindsey Jahn with 11 and Katie Clark with 10.
Adelyn Cook paced the M’s with 15 points.