Roland Park sophomore Mir McLean has been a big problem for Western’s girls basketball team the past two years.
The 5-foot-11 All-Metro forward had 19 points and 21 rebounds as the No. 3 Reds took an early lead and held off No. 6 Western, 50-46, on Saturday at the Public vs. Private Challenge at McDonogh. Last year, she had 23 points and 20 rebounds in an 82-71 Reds win over the Doves.
“When you have good players and these moments come up, you just look and kind of be in awe. The girl is good,” Western coach Tasha Townsend said. “We locked her down a couple times. I know how to defend her, I just have to get the girls out there to be able to do it, because sometimes they get caught up in trying to get the call. She’s athletic, so she’ll grab the ball and pull it back. They’re kind of like, ‘OK. I’m boxing her out, but she’s coming over my head and getting the ball still,’ because her arms are lengthy, so I’m trying to explain to my girls that you’ve got to box and move.”
While McLean held down the inside for the Reds, junior point guard Ja’Niah Henson contributed 15 points, mostly from the outside and the free-throw line. She hit three free throws in the last 31 seconds to seal a game that Western led 46-44 with 1:40 to go.
The Reds (16-4) broke out of a 7-7 first quarter tie to push their lead as high as 15 with an 8-0 spurt to end the first half. McLean scored six during the run that boosted Roland Park’s lead to 27-12.
The Doves (10-2) chipped away at that margin and tied the game on back-to-back 3-pointers by Mackenzie Pollard, the second with 3:14 left. About 30 seconds later, Jasmen Walton drove to give the Doves their first lead.
The Reds, playing without injured senior guard Aniyah Carpenter, don’t have a lot of depth, which didn’t help as the game wore on.
“I think we were kind of tired from yesterday’s game,” McLean said of the Reds’ 58-42 win over John Carroll in which she had 27 points and 18 rebounds. “But we just made sure that we had to bounce back and persevere. They were really aggressive and when I would go up for a shot or rebound, they would come hard at me and it was hard to kick the ball out.”
Still, the Reds recovered and Christyn Robinson tied it with a pair of three throws with 2:04 to go. Walton, an All-Metro senior guard, then fed Destiny Johnson for a layup and a 46-44 Doves lead. McLean’s short jumper tied it at 46 with 1:30 left. Robinson then gave the Reds the edge with another free throw with 51 seconds left.
After Western turned the ball over when Maria Ferariu batted it away and Robinson grabbed it, the Doves had to foul. Henson hit three of four three throws in the final 31 seconds and the Doves missed their only shot.
“I’m so proud of how when they took the lead, we just dug in,” Reds coach Scott Buckley said. “We got stops and made some baskets and some foul shots. This really is a special group. These kids are awesome. It was a big effort today.”
3Roland Park 50, 6Western 46
RP—Henson 15, McLean 19, Green 2, Ferariu 5, Robinson 9. Totals 17 16-28 50.
W—Walton 6, Johnson 6, Pickens 7, Pollard 11, Waters 3, Rideout 11, Fisher 2. Totals 17 8-13 46. Half: RP, 27-12.