By Drew Karpen
General McLane’s one-two punch of Jaymon Mason and Quinn Thompson proved to be too powerful for Farrell as the boys basketball team pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 70-55 win in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals at Edinboro University’s McComb Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.
“This first game is so hard,” General McLane head coach Andy Schulz said. “It is so emotional and you know if we lose it we are done. In the first half I think both teams played under that circumstance. In the second half we got in the flow a little bit better and we talked about refusing to lose.”
Mason scored a game-high 26 points, with 20 of them coming in the second half. Thompson finished with 18 points.
The Lancers (18-5) advanced to play East in the semifinals, which was a 46-43 winner over Hickory.
Whether it was early game jitters or another unknown reason, both teams got off to a slow offensive start.
General McLane’s Clay Smith finally got the crowd on their feet with 5:15 left in the first when he connected on a 3-pointer, which was the first field goal of the game for the Lancers.
The Steelers (14-9) hung around early and made it a two point game when Jamel Brown converted on a layup.
The Lancers would answer right back on a nifty back door pass from Thompson to Lukas Hallet for the layup, forcing Farrell to call a timeout.
General McLane would close the quarter on an 8-2 run, opening up a 14-8 advantage.
Thompson began to take control of the paint and the game in the second quarter. Thompson scored eight of his 18 points in the frame.
“We always want to take advantage of getting the ball inside because that really opens it up for the whole offense,” Thompson said. “I can either take the shot or pass it to one of my teammates on the wing.”
With the score 15-13, Thompson gave the Lancers some breathing room with back-to-back buckets on a layup and a turnaround jumper for a six-point cushion.
Thompson continued his dominance later in the quarter, scoring another back-to-back series to increase the lead to seven.
Mason kept the advantage at seven heading into the locker room after connecting on two free throws with 11.8 seconds remaining.
After only scoring six points in the opening 16 minutes and missing his only two 3-point attempts, Mason began to be more aggressive and attack the defense in the second half.
Mason found his stroke from mid range, and knocked down a jumper to start the second half. Thompson quickly follow that up with a jumper of his own, giving the Lancers their first double digit lead of the game, 31-20, at 6:52 in the third.
After a couple baskets by Farrell’s Ike Jones cut the lead back to six — one being a 3-point play — Mason continued to keep McLane in the lead with three more mid- range jumpers.
“It was really big,” Schulz said about Mason stepping up in the second half. “Jaymon has been doing that for us all year and we are not going to go in any other direction. He came out in the second half and made some jump shots that he missed in the first. He battled very hard.”
Farrell cut the lead to 39-33 after a 3-pointer by Brown, but started to lose its patience. From the start, the coaches on the Farrell bench were unsatisfied with how the officials were calling the game. After a no call on a missed shot, Farrell assistant coach Bob Stewart received a technical foul for screaming in the direction of the official.
Technical fouls may not always be a negative though. After the incident, the Steelers went on a 9-6 run to close the gap to within four entering the final quarter.
As they did in the third, Thompson and Mason began the fourth with back-to-back jumpers, increasing the lead to eight.
The Lancers once again got the lead up to double figures when Smith connected on his second 3-pointer of the game, making it 55-45. Like they had all game, the Steelers kept on fighting and once again got the deficit down to five on five quick points by Brown.
That would be the last bit of fight the Steelers had left in them. The Lancers ended the game on a 15-5 run, highlighted by eight points by Mason.
“I give our kids a lot of credit,” Schulz said. “They were determined and found the will to win.”
With the game already out of hand, Farrell’s head coach Roland Shannonhouse received the second technical foul for the Steelers.
Along with his 16 points, Thompson had a stellar game on the boards, corralling eight hard-fought rebounds.
“Quinn was a big rebounder,” Schulz said. “He got on the board big time. A couple times three or four guys went up for a rebound with him and he brought it down. He got some monster rebounds for us.”
Smith was the third Lancer to finish in double figures with 11 points.
For Farrell, Jones and Brown led the team with 17 points each.