In hard-fought women's action, the McLennan Highlassies fell to the Ranger Lady Rangers 56-54 Saturday in the conference opener at Ranger.
Ranger began the scoring with a Noortje Joosten jumper from the paint 30 seconds into the contest. Desirae Devine banked a shot off the glass 15 seconds later to put McLennan on the board. The Lady Rangers led 7-4 with 7:10 to go in the first quarter. The Highlassies' Dariel Johnson tied the game with a long ball from the top of the arc with seven minutes to go. Patrickia Daily then found Velma Mitchell cutting to the basket with 4:57 on the clock to give McLennan the two-point lead, 9-7. Joosten tied the game on a put back with 4:36 to go in the quarter. The game was tied at 14 with one minute to go. Ranger ended the quarter on a 4-0 run to take the 18-14 lead into the second.
The Lady Rangers increased their lead to eight, 22-14, with 8:42 to play in the second. Jaylonn Walker tracked down a defensive rebound for the Highlassies and pulled up for a 3-pointer to trim the lead to five, 22-17. Ranger extended the lead to nine, 26-17, with six minutes to go in the quarter. Walker drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Mitchell finished a lay-up following a Devine block on the defensive end to cut the lead back to four, 26-22. Ranger led 28-24 at the break.
McLennan stepped up their pressure defense in the third quarter, getting multiple stops. Ranger led 40-35 with 4:22 to go in the third. Johnson drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Mitchell hit two free-throws following a Lady Ranger foul to tie the game at 40. The Highlassie defense held strong on Ranger's next possession, forcing a 10-second violation. Ashley Moore and Nadia Hayes both banked in baskets from the paint to give McLennan the 44-40 lead. Ranger trimmed the lead to one heading into the final quarter, 46-45.
The two teams traded baskets and the lead throughout the fourth quarter. Ranger led 55-52 with 1:21 remaining in the game. The Highlassie defense forced a Lady Rangers' shot clock violation and a Johnson jumper was good for McLennan, cutting the lead to one, 55-54. Bryane Thompson went 1-2 from the free-throw line to put Ranger back up by two with 10.8 seconds to go. McLennan advanced the ball following a time out and Hayes had a good look at the basket to tie the game at the buzzer, but the shot bounced off the iron.
Mitchell led MCC with 18 points and Dariel Johnson scored 12.
Ranger 56, McLennan 54
McLennan: Patrickia Daily 0 0-0 0; Colandria Haynes 0 0-0 0; Dariel Johnson 5 0-0 12; Jordan Mullins 0 0-0 0; Velma Mitchell 6 3-4 16; Jaylonn Walker 3 0-0 8; Nadia Hayes 3 3-4 9; Ashley Moore 1 2-2 4; Desirae Devine 2 1-1 5; Totals: 20 9-11 54.
Ranger: Shaylan Coleman 4 0-0 8; Lena Maledon 4 0-0 11; Shadazia Birchette 3 2-2 8; Noortje Joosten 4 0-2 8; Kirsten Fellows 3 0-0 6; Bryane Thompson 4 1-2 11; Josie Fisher 1 0-0 2; Chrystal Ngawuchu 0 2-2 2; Totals: 23 5-8 56.
3-pointers: Ranger 5 (Maledon 3, Thompson 2), McLennan 5 (Johnson 2, Walker 2, Mitchell 1); Total fouls: Halftime score: Ranger 28, McLennan 24; Record: McLennan 7-9 (0-1).