The Clay City Eels got just what the doctor ordered in Tuesday evening's double overtime victory over Cloverdale. A close win.
Twice this season they had lost just the sort of game that shaped up in their home gym on Tuesday.
Their second game of the year they played much the same game against the Northview Knights, trail early, lead late, but then fell at the wire. Last weekend they could never quite overcome a solidly ranked Bloomfield squad that tops the SWIAC Conference and has a perfect 5-0 mark overall.
But this one was different in two big ways, it was on their home floor and they won a tight game. A game that could have been demoralizing had they lost and taken a 3-3 mark into Friday's home game against Vincennes Rivet.
The Patriots roll into Clay City with a 3-2 mark on Friday night, but have won two games in a row coming in.
Last season the Eels traveled to Vincennes and took a 60-55 win, but according to Clay City coach Grant McVay, this Patriot squad is tough. "They are a good team," McVay noted after Tuesday night's win. "They've got a lot of experience returning."
All five of the Patriots starters from last season were juniors which means the battle should be a difficult one for both teams. The Eels also return a set of seniors with Elliott Booe, Matt Farmer, Landon Wellman and Greg Long all likely to see significant court time.
The Eels came from behind to win last year's game. Trailing by eight points at the break, Clay City got 28 points from Booe and a combined 13 from Roger Harden, Farmer and Long to finish with a huge 22 point final quarter. That explosion erased a seven point third quarter deficit.
For the Patriots, Chris Ross had 14 to lead the team.
The Eels will need to be strong on the glass and take care of the ball to beat another experienced team on their home court. Cloverdale took them to the wire and the Eels will need to remain focused and play at a high level throughout to get the win.
The Eels and Patriots face off at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night.