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GIRLS BASKETBALL: McCain's game-winner lifts WL Central past WL Western and to city championship WITH TOUT VIDEOS

COMMERCE – With Walled Lake Central in a position to clinch a city championship on the same day the Vikings inducted their first ever Hall of Fame class, Alisha McCain wasn’t prepared to let rival Walled Lake Western spoil the party.

With her team trailing 34-33 with 10 seconds left to play, the senior guard drove into the lane and put up a floater that went just above the outreached hand of a defender and fell to lift the Vikings a 35-34 win over Western, clinching the Walled Lake city title.

McCain said that simply, she knew she had to find a way to get the final two points to give her team the win and added that she drove to the lane looking to either make the basket or draw a foul so she could have a chance to win the game with free throws.

“I knew that we needed two more points to get the win, so I managed to take the floater and it fell in,” she said. “I just knew I had to get to the basket or get fouled so I could get it on the possession or with free throws.”

Central head coach Jamie Thomas said that winning a city championship was a goal for his team going into the season and credited his squad for grinding out the narrow win over their rivals.

“Not knowing much about the rivalry, it was one of the first things that I was told and that one of our biggest goals should be winning the city championship, so we did put that up on our goal list this year,” he said. “The fact that we got it and that we still have one game left to play is a testament to the girls and how hard they’ve worked and they really wanted it.”

With Central facing a 22-16 deficit coming out of halftime, the Vikings wasted little time getting back into the game, thanks to sophomore Kaitlyn Wolschlager, who scored each of the first six Central points to start the second half to cut the deficit down to 24-22 and then accounted for three late points to tie the game at 27-27 heading to the fourth quarter.

Wolschlager, who was coming off of the bench for the first time this year in an effort to stay out of foul trouble, said that coming out of halftime, she was more than motivated to put her team back out in front to try and help Central take the lead and hopefully hold on to earn the win.

“I just wanted to get the lead,” she said. “I want to find a way for us to win this game and I wanted to do what I could to help us do that.”

Wolschlager finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds to help lead the way for the Vikings and was one of three players to record 11 or more rebounds for Central as senior Ali Ambrose grabbed 14 rebounds of her own and senior Joanna Finn grabbed 11 more for the Vikings.

Thomas said that his team has had its struggles in recent weeks on the boards, but said that after making that a focal point in practice in the week leading up to Saturday, his team did a much better job of eliminating second chance opportunities for Western, while also rebounding well on both ends.

“We’ve been having an issue with trying to keep teams off the offensive glass,” he said. “So this week, we really focused on blocking out defensively and also with our three, four and five players going to the offensive boards and it paid off. The three girls that got those rebounds were probably the three best girls in our rebounding drills this week.”

After Central took a 33-31 lead with 2:30 left to play on a basket from junior guard Jordan Lewis, Western managed to take the lead back as Lindsay Scott registered a basket of her own and tallied a free throw with 1:40 left to play, but the Vikings managed to come away with the win late.

Last Updated: 2/2/2014 3:10:52 AM EST

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