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McCully, Grand Rapids Christian shoot past Caledonia, 48-40

By: Lenny Padilla, March 2, 2016, 10:17 pm


Byron Center – Mariah McCully has range. Long range.

The Grand Rapids Christian senior pulled up from NBA distance and sank a 3-pointer early in the third quarter that drew gasps from the crowd.

McCully scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half as the Eagles rallied to beat Caledonia 48-40 on Wednesday in a Class A district semifinal at Byron Center High.

“It’s very rare that (defenders) give me the three closer to the 3-point line,” McCully said. “So they don’t really know my range. When they sag off of me, it’s just easier for me to shoot.”

The Eagles (15-6), the No. 8-ranked team in Class A, advances to play East Kentwood (14-8) on Friday at 7 p.m.

Christian coach Tom Buteyn was frustrated with his team, which trailed 22-17 at halftime.

“That first half wasn’t like us,” he said. “We’re a high-effort, high-intensity team. We didn’t bring it. We talked about how this could be our last 16 minutes of the season. They realized it, but they needed a little jolt of reality, especially the seniors.”

The reality check worked.

The Eagles went on a 14-0 run to start the second half, highlighted by McCully’s long 3-pointer.

 “It was a games of runs,” Caledonia coach Mike Glass said. “We went on a 9-0 run to end the first half. We talked about winning the first five minutes. But we threw the ball away twice, took quick shots and they capitalized on it. They went on a 14-0 run before we scored the next point and that was the game.”

Caledonia’s Sammi Gehrls hit a long jump shot to tie it at 33-33 with 5:13 left in the game, but couldn’t get anything going after that.

McCully led all scorers and also had nine rebounds, and five steals. Arnetta Abbey had 10 points, including two 3-pointers, and Jocelyn Taylor had nine points and six steals.

 “Arnetta’s a really good shooter,” Buteyn said. “She plays the post, but she comes out to shoot the three. And Joceyln, she’s our best defensive player. We put her on the best player on the other team, whether it’s a post player or a guard.”

Anna LoManaco had 10 points and six rebounds for the Fighting Scots (18-4), which won the OK White Division title. Gehrls added nine points and six rebounds.

McCully is an expert on the topic of scoring. She scored more than 1,100 career points at Kentwood Grand River Prep Academy before transferring to Christian last summer. She had as many as 51 points in a game, which is tied for 15th best in state history. She averaged 25 points a game in her first three seasons and had 14 games of 30 points or more.

But her season high this year is 28, which is fine by her. She likes being part of the offense instead of the only offense.

“It’s way more comfortable now,” McCully said. “At Grand River, there was a lot of pressure on my back. Here there’s a lot more help.”

McCully said she hasn’t made up her mind where she’ll play in college.

“I haven’t decided where I’m going to play yet,” she said. “I’m still searching. I have to make more (college) visits first.”

Any hint at a favorite?

“No. But they’re Division I,” she said.