The Clay City Eels' schedule doesn't get an iota easier this week as their brutal slate continues with the Sullivan Golden Arrows on Friday night. The only bright spot is that they get to play at home for the second game in a row, just one week after falling to Class 2A No. 6 Eastern (Greene) 54-47.
Playing ranked opponents is more the norm than not for both Sullivan and the Eels with the pair combining to have faced seven top-10 teams out of 24 total games. In fact, if you throw out the two games with 0-11 Union and 1-11 South Vermillion that the Eels and Arrows have played, the two squads have played a remarkable group of opponents with a combined 154-81 record.
That schedule is one reason that according to the Sagarin Power Ratings, that factor in team wins and strength of schedule, the Eels are rated second in the state in Class 1A.
Sullivan's five losses have come to Class 2A No. 5 North Knox (11-2), Class A No. 5 Bloomfield (10-4) twice, Class 4A No. 11 Northview (13-1) and a solid North Central (Farmersburg) squad. So the Eels and Golden Arrows are familiar with tough opponents, Friday's matchup will be no different.
Clay City will be out to avenge their loss to Sullivan last year as well as last Friday's loss to Eastern while Sullivan is gearing up for a Jan. 31 rematch with the Northview Knights.
The Golden Arrows feature 6'2 junior guard Jeffery Moore who is a difficult matchup for anyone. In three consecutive days of games at the Pizza Hut Classic tournament, he averaged 23 points while shooting 56 percent (25-of-45) from the field. He also knocked down nine from long range.
They'll also throw some size at the Eels with 6'5 junior Larry Swain and 6'4 junior Kyle Lane underneath. So Matt Farmer's play will be important underneath as always.
The Eels will need some decent scoring numbers from someone other than Elliott Booe for Clay City to get the win.
Roger Harden, Landon Wellman and Jared Defore can all score when needed, but they'll have to stay in the flow of the game to balance the Eel attack.
Eastern was able to slow Booe to just three-of-11 shooting and 11 points last Friday. Though Harden had nine and Wellman and Farmer added eight each, the Eels got just 11 points from the rest of the team in the loss. They need more production from their bench to get the win versus a tough Sullivan squad.
The Eels and Golden Arrows tipoff the junior varsity at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night.