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The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

McLean boys basketball triumphs over Spartans

Highlanders win first regular season game against West Springfield
Senior Caf Eaton looks down the court to stay open for a pass.

Yesterday, the West Springfield Spartans and the McLean Highlanders faced off in the first boys basketball game of the 2023 regular season, with McLean dominating 68-45.
Senior power forward Isaac Bell won the tipoff for the Highlanders at the start of the home game and moved quickly into offensive territory, scoring the first point with 2 on the board.
A small but rowdy crowd came to support the basketball team, and the Highlander student section showed McLean’s enthusiasm. With chants from the student section and energetic shouts from the cheer team, the gym was lit up and ensured an eventful game.
“We came out strong,” Isaac Bell said. “We usually get antsy, but we took it slow and made our shots early.”
As the first quarter continued, the Highlanders kept the Spartans running to keep up with the fast pace they set. As McLean reached an 11-0 lead, West Springfield called their first timeout, feeling the heat on the chilly Tuesday night.
The Spartans seemed to take control, but after some time in Highlander territory and many missed shots, the Highlanders took back the ball and ended the first quarter leading 23-5.
As the second quarter began, the fate of West Springfield solidified.
“We played great defense,” sophomore shooting guard Jacob Bell said. “It was much better than scrimmages which shows how we’ve improved on the court.”
The quarter wound down with Highlanders holding fast to their 40-14 lead.
The second half showed the exhaustion of the Spartans, and the distance between the scores increased. The Highlanders had more quick plays that threw off the Spartans, and the home student section continued to bring loud energy to McLean’s gym.
“We pressed very well and were very good defensively in the second half,” senior center Dante Tosado said. “I think we need work, but overall we did exactly what we practiced.”
With 30 seconds on the clock before the last quarter, Jacob Bell took the ball from the Spartans in a quick attack and senior Max Mullen scored, wrapping up the third quarter 56-29.
The fourth quarter brought the same dynamic seen earlier in the game, and the Highlanders maintained a strong sense of competition all the way through.
As the clock ran down, the three-pointers went up on each side. The last two minutes of the game brought out a renewed intensity from each team, and the scoreboard lit up. Still, the Highlanders maintained their significant lead as the players sprinted down the court.
“We were aggressive on both ends of the floor and we shot the ball really well,” coach Mike O’Brien said. “Our team dynamic is really what carried us through this game.”

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