Friday night at the Marco Middle School gym turned out to be ladies’ night, as it was the girls’ team that created much of the excitement with a game that came down to the final shot.
Unfortunately for the Rays, who staged an improbable fourth-quarter comeback, the final shot by team leader Malley McGuire just missed, allowing Oasis to escape with a narrow 35-34 win.
The Marco girls trailed 16-5 at halftime.
“Our girls were being outmuscled, outsized, everything was against them in the first half,” said Rays Head Coach, Travis Barry. “But our girls are in great shape. So in the second half Oasis tired and we made a great comeback. But unfortunately, one call went against us at the end of the game. If we had two more minutes we would have won that game.
The Rays outscored Oasis 16-9 in the third quarter to cut the lead to 25-14 heading into the final quarter.
“When we came back, it was a real breath of fresh air,” stated Barry. “Because they never quite thought they could do it. I told them, ‘You can come back, you can do this.’ At one point it was nine points. I said, ’That’s three three-pointers.’ They went out and knocked three three-pointers down,” Barry said with a proud chuckle.
With twenty seconds left, the score was tied 34-34. The Rays were whistled for a foul, and Oasis hit one of their free throws.
The Rays then turned the ball over, only to get it back with 5.3 seconds left. Barry called a timeout to lay out the scenario for his eager squad.
“I basically just told them in that last time-out—we were in trouble because they blew that call—I said we have to block out at all costs. We have to come down here and get one good look at the basket.”
Not only did his girls do that, but they also got the ball into McGuire’s hands with a clear look at the basket from the top of the key.
“We got a good look down here,” Barry said, “it was off the backboard, off the front of the rim and out.”
It wasn’t meant to be this time.
“It was real close to us winning that game,” Barry mused. “I’m really proud of the girls. That fight back. To know that they can fight back like that.”
Barry is pleased with the improvement his team continues to make.
“Donahue beat us by 24 the first time we played them this season,” he said. “We beat them by 19 three days ago. This is a whole different team than they were at the beginning of the season. Kathryn is getting more confident handling the ball. She is just a freshman. Meagan Sweeney keeps getting better with every practice. Malley McGuire has come back from her injury. She is tough. She is just tough. Katie Snover, her effort and her calmness has really been paying off for us. They’re passing the ball really well.”
Kathryn Barry and Megan Sweeney were the leading scorers for the Rays with 14 points each. Megan’s sister, Bridget Sweeney, was next in line with 12 points.
The Rays move to 6-4 after the loss. Oasis improves to 5-7.