Clay City trailed 61-52 after Northview's Josh Timm knocked down a 3-pointer with less than six minutes left in the game, but then forward Roger Harden took over for the Eels.
Harden got the Eels within 61-56 with a pair of free throws and a drive to the hoop. But Northview guard Logan Whitman wouldn't be outdone as he answered with a 3-pointer after teammate Travis Hughes hit a free throw. Harden scored another pair from the line, part of his 11 points, to get within 67-58. And then Elliott Booe took the reigns.
He would score 20 of his game high 34 points in the second half, including seven points in a stretch of 32 seconds with less than two minutes remaining in the game. "He was tough tonight," said Northview coach Mitch Lancaster in his Knight debut. "He's really improved his outside shot and when you have to go out there to guard him he's dangerous."
Booe's variety of acrobatic drives and clutch 3-point shooting was icing on the cake when you consider that his pressure defense sparked the Eels run back into contention. After Booe drilled a 3-pointer with 1:37 left that moved the Eels within a a pair at 67-65, Clay City's full court press forced Whitman into an offensive foul on the inbounds play. And it was Booe who went to the line.
This time however, the Booe couldn't answer as he missed both shots with 1:19 left. But on the defensive end, Booe came up with a steal and Camrand Tucker came through with the tying hoop to send the Eel fans into hysterics. "I was really pleased with the heart we showed tonight," commented McVay of his Eels.
After Travis Hughes missed a Northview free throw attempt the Eels got the ball back with the score tied, but on the inbounds, the ball was deflected and Zach Keyes scored the lay-in to cap his 18 point night and give the Knights the edge with :24 left. Clay City wasn't able to recover, missing a couple of shots in the dwindling minute. Northview's Josh Timm sank two huge free throws to give the Knights the four point win. "That is probably the best Clay City team I've seen in a long time," commented Lancaster. "They're big, strong and physical. You've got to tip your cap to them and coach McVay. His team played hard which is a credit to their coach. He's done a super job."
The Eels played well enough to win this one as they battled to the wire. Clay City trailed by as many as nine in the first and fourth quarters and led by three at one point in the second period, but wouldn't let the game slip away in front of an electric near capacity crowd at Northview High School.
Booe kept Clay City in the game early with four first half 3-pointers after Northview had run out to a 16-8 lead. He knocked down a pair from long range in the second quarter to bring the Eels back to even late in the first half.
Logan Whitman and Zach Keyes were big on the offensive end for the Knights early, scoring a combined 20 points before the half. But Timm came up huge in the second half as he put in 13 second half points after getting in early foul trouble.
"He had a big second half for us," commented Lancaster. "He was maybe a little emotional early and got in foul trouble, but he settled down and played well in the second half."
As did both teams, the Knights placed four players in double figures and shot just under 50 percent from the field. The Eels were right there as well, shooting 53 percent (23-of-43) in their own right.
The Knights will remain at home to face Vigo county opponent, Terre Haute North on Friday night while the Eels travel to Union (Dugger) on Friday.
Clay City (67)
Booe 12-18 4-9 34, Tucker 4-6 1-3 9, Wellman 0-4 2-2 2, Harden 3-8 5-5 11, Farmer 2-4 0-0 4, Long 2-2 0-0 4, Schopmeyer 1-1 1-2 3, Roberts 0-1 0-0 0, Stoelting 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-43 13-21 67.
Wegner 1-2 1-2 4, Whitman 8-18 0-0 19, Hughes 3-8 5-9 11, Timm 7-13 2-2 17, Keyes 8-12 2-3 18, Brand 1-1 00 2, Akers 0-1 0-0 0, Bitzegaio 0-1 0-0 0, Greenwood 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 28-57 10-16 71.
3-point fieldgoals -- Clay City 6-15 (Booe 6-10, Tucker 0-1, Roberts 0-1, Wellman 0-1, Harden 0-2), Northview 5-12 (Whitman 3-9, Timm 1-1, Wegner 1-1, Akers 0-1). Rebounds -- Clay City 30 (Tucker 7, Booe 5), Northview 33 (Keyes 5, Hughes 4). Turnovers -- Clay City 24, Northview 17. Total Fouls -- Clay City 17, Northview 22.