District downfall

McLean’s girls basketball team falls to South Lakes in a back and forth affair


Paarth Soni

Nothing But Net—Senior guard Elizabeth Dufrane pulls up for a near elbow jump-shot. Quick shots were utilized by McLean to keep South Lakes on their toes.

Packed with supporting fans and parents, the stadium is nervous in anticipation as players prepare for one of the most important games of their highschool sports careers. The referee throws the jump-ball in the air and the stands explode as the annual Liberty District Championship basketball game has begun. 

Hosted at South Lakes High School on Feb. 20, the bout between the McLean and South Lakes girls basketball teams was a nail-biter, as there were several lead changes throughout the game. 

Right off the tip, McLean came out of the gates with strong offensive procedures that were working well, as they appeared to be the dominant team. With their shots falling, it became clear that they were not going to leave without putting up a fight.

“For the championship game, our goals were to contain Brianna Scott, the tall post-player, and grab all the rebounds that we possibly could. We decided that if we wanted it more than South Lakes and played hard we could definitely win,”  said Mia Fitzgerald, sophomore guard on the girls varsity basketball team.

 McLean executed their game plan well but experienced a small breakdown in the middle of the second quarter.

 “A lot of the calls were not going our way and unfortunately things like that have a tendency to shift the energyespecially at important times where we couldn’t afford to lose that momentum,” Glenn said.

After South Lakes hit a couple major threes, McLean was trailing by six points. Despite this, McLean was able to mount a comeback and ended strong with a halftime score of 31-34, in South Lakes’ favor. 

The next half of play was more of a back and forth battle. There were numerous lead changes and both teams fought with intensity. With the game completely unpredictable, either team could come out on top. However, the last few minutes of the game determined McLean’s fate.

“Ultimately, in the last few minutes, because of [opposing calls and momentum changes], we fell apart. One thing we could have done better is just regroup and remember our goals,” senior guard Elly Glenn said.

When the dust settled, McLean ended up falling short 63-66.

“We all played our hearts out that game and it just didn’t go our way. But I’m very proud of the team for getting this far and we still have regional games to play,” Fitzgerald said.

Winning the District Championship last year, this wasn’t McLean’s first time playing against this type of competition. Coincidentally, they faced South Lakes in the same game last year. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t able to best South Lakes for a second year in a row.

“I think going into this second championship game, the nerves were a little bit stronger because we had something to lose. Last year, we could only go up but this year it was about keeping the title. We were the underdogs going into the game being the third seed. Having played South Lakes last year, we were the ones on the defensive end. As much as some of us were nervous, we all knew we had worked hard and deserved to be where we were, so there was also a lot of excitement being able to play in a game like that again,” Glenn said.

Despite this loss, the season is not over for McLean.

“I’m very proud of the team getting this far and we still have regional games to play,” Fitzgerald said.

With several young players on the roster gaining experience and seniors graduating, McLean is always looking towards the future. The team hopes to come out with a strong start in Regionals and seasons to come.

“McLean fans really showed up to support us and we ended up having more fans than South Lakes, even with teams like Langley staying to support us. The pressure was high and every play was important, but with that kind of pressure, you can only ever think of it as an opportunity to do something great. It was fun to have it be close because that competition and that pressure is really what you play for,” Glenn said.


On behalf of The Highlander staff, we wish the girls basketball team the best of luck in the final stretch of their season.