The Clay City Eels takes on Southwestern Indiana Conference foe Bloomfield on Friday evening in what should be their most difficult task since they faced county opponent Northview.
The Eels will face much the same situation that they did last year coming into this game. They will come into the contest with a two-game winning streak after defeating Union and Eminence to face a Bloomfield team that had won their previous two games as well.
Last year the Eels got the short end of the stick on their home court as the Cardinals had four players score seven or more points in a 49-33 victory.
Bloomfield was able to slow down the pace against the Eels which seemed to completely disrupt the Clay City offense. Elliott Booe and Landon Wellman scored just four points apiece in the game.
The Cardinals come into Friday's game ranked ninth in Class A with a 3-0 mark while the Eels are 3-1 and have edged their way into 19th in Class A thus far.
More importantly however is the fact that Bloomfield is already 3-0 in the SWIAC Conference. The Eels are 1-0 thus far. The winner of the Friday's game will have a distinct advantage in chasing the conference crown.
This season the Cardinals are led by an experienced group of upperclassmen, much like the Eels. Three juniors and a pair of seniors make up the starting rotation for the Cardinals while Clay City has three seniors and a pair of juniors.
The Cardinals are led by 6'1" guard Corey Sparks who poured in 12 points against Shakamak in their last game. Up front Bloomfield sends 6'4" junior center Jon Neill to bat against Clay City's Matt Farmer who should have his hands full.
Neill had 14 in their last game and has the ability to knock down the outside jumper.
Senior J.D. Wells will also be an important part of the Bloomfield cause with his rebounding ability. At guard, 5'8" senior Dustin Haywood also has a scoring knack, hitting for eight in the last contest versus the Lakers.
The Eels will need to contain Neill to be successful and put the clamps on Haywood. If they can win the rebounding war underneath and wreak havoc with their defense they'll give the Cardinals fits.
The Eels will need to play under control however and not let Bloomfield dictate the tempo of the game or it could be a long night for Clay City.