CLAY CITY -- The Clay City Eels opened the 2002-03 basketball season with an impressive run past the South Vermillion Wildcats on Wedensday night, 85-50, as four players scored in double figures.
The Eels opened up strong driving to the basket aggressively and seemed to immediately put the Wildcats on their heels.
Clay City quickly ran out to a 15-0 lead as the Eels took advantage of seven first quarter South turnovers and got a balanced inside-outside attack from Elliott Booe, Matt Farmer and Landon Wellman. All three players scored five or more points in the 23 point opening quarter for Clay City.
Solid interior defense was a big key for the Eels who forced South Vermillion to shoot from the outside nearly all game. The Wildcats would take 16 3-pointers in the game and made just four of them.
Meanwhile the Eels continued to pile on the lead in the first half as they took a 23-9 first quarter lead and added to it for a 41-15 advantage at halftime.
South Vermillion shot just 31 percent (5-of-16) in the first half and picked up just 10 rebounds while Clay City torched the nets at 50 percent (17-of-34) and pulled down 16 boards.
In the third quarter, Clay City opened the gap to as much as 30 points twice as Wellman and Harden remained very active. Wellman scored six of his 16 points in the period and Harden added seven of his 13 to widen the gap to 61-33 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter Clay City brought in their subs with several minutes left and were able to still add to their lead as they got some of their bench players some game experience in the season opener. In fact, all of the Clay City players who were dressed scored at least two points.
"(The margin of victory) was nice in the regard that we were able to play so many kids," said Eel head coach Grant McVay. "It's nice to have so many kids who can give you balance and share the load."
The Eels were led by Wellman's 16, but Booe added 15 to go with 13 from Harden and 10 from Farmer who also had six rebounds.
For the game, Clay City shot 54 percent (32-of-59) from the field compared to South Vermillion's 41 percent (18-of-44).
The Eels will travel to county rival Northview for the Knights' season opener on Tuesday night beginning at 6 p.m.
In the junior varsity game, the Eels got 20 points from sophomore Brock Dyer in winning 45-34 over the Wildcats.
T.L. Roeschlein added 10 points for Clay City while Clay Jones and Josey Vansickle added five apiece.