Roland Park outlasts No. 4 McDonogh in IAAM A basketball; McLean and Diehl combine for 37 (VIDEO HERE!)
by Derek Toney
Except driving the van for road games, Mir McLean knows she has to do a little bit of everything for Roland Park Country School.
McLean finished with a game-high 25 points as the No. 8 Reds defeated fourth-ranked McDonogh School, , in an IAAM A Conference match in Baltimore City. Sophia Diehl added 11 points for Roland Park.
The Reds kept their composure in the face of a McDonogh’s fourth quarter run, improving to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in IAAM A play. It was Roland Park’s first game in more than a week.
It was far from perfect, but Reds coach Dani Steinbach will take it.
“Both teams had to deal with exams so it was hard finding a flow,” said Steinbach. “We played well enough defensively.”
“We just tried to stay compose. We knew McDonogh would try to speed us up,” said McLean. “We just had to handle the pressure.”
Trailing 36-28, McDonogh (4-4, 1-2 IAAM A) went on a 10-2 run, capped with Jayla Oden’s three-pointer, tying the game at 38 with 3 minutes, 46 seconds left in regulation. McLean, an University of Connecticut recruit, answered back with a score off a spin move in the paint.
Scoring and rebounding is a natural for McLean, who has totaled more than 1,000 in both categories. The senior has had to do more this season for a Red team which graduated a senior nucleus last season and minus senior point guard Rain Green, who’s recovering from a torn ACL injury from last season.
“I’ve been trying to be the outlet for people if they have a problem, on or off the court,” said McLean, who had 17 of the Reds’ 24 first half points. “I can bring the ball back with Myah (Simmons) or Sophia (Diehl). I just trying to the backbone for the team.”
“We need her to do a lot more,” said Steinbach, whose team reached the IAAM A final last year.
McLean got help Friday from Diehl, who drained a three-pointer following McLean’s lead basket in the fourth for a five-point Reds lead with 1:22 left in regulation. She had another timely trifecta in the third quarter, helping Roland Park back in front after squandering a five-point halftime lead.
Cameron Levine knocked down a three-pointer before the buzzer, giving the Reds a 34-28 advantage entering the fourth.
Diehl, a transfer from Westminster, said the Reds are building chemistry.
“One of our goals is try to get to know each other and we’re doing a good job with that,” said Diehl. “It showing on the court…we’re making good passes to each other and we’re working well with the chemistry.”
Freshman Makaela Quimby led the Eagles with 13 points and Oden finished with 11. The Eagles got to 43-40 after a layup from sophomore Nekhu Mitchell.
The Owings Mills school forced Roland Park into a turnover with 28.9 seconds left. But the Eagles, who have only two seniors on the roster, missed three three-point attempts before Diehl captured the ball with about five seconds left.
The Eagles and Reds will head north after Christmas. McDonogh will play at Boardwalk Classic in New Jersey while Roland Park will be in Delaware for the Diamond State Classic.
For the Reds, it will be a prime opportunity to build comradarie before diving into IAAM A play after the new year.
“It takes a lot of mental fortitude to be able to focus, but I think we pulled it off,” said McLean.
No. 8 Roland Park Country School 43, No. 4 McDonogh School 40
McDonogh – Mitchell 5, Oden 11, Yarborough 6, Locke 5, Quimby 13. Totals 17 2-6 40.
Roland Park – McLean 25, Simmons 2, Levine 3, Diehl 11, Franks 2. Totals 15 8-11 43.
McDonogh 9 10 9 12 – 40
Roland Park 11 13 10 9 – 43