CLAY CITY -- The Clay City Eels were determined to shut down visiting Eminence on Tuesday night.
Consider their mission accomplished.
Clay City held Eminence to just three shots from the field in the fourth quarter and pulled away to a 59-32 victory.
"We gave up 60 points to them at their place last year," commented Clay City coach Grant McVay. "I don't know what it is about them whether it's the whole Eels vs. Eels thing, but they always come out hungry against us."
Eminence may have come out hungry, but they also went away even more famished as Clay City forced 25 turnovers in the game, including seven in each of the first two quarters as they took a 24-13 lead into the halftime break.
Roger Harden paced the Eels in the first half with nine points against Eminence's spread out zone defense.
"Roger (Harden) has to step up and be aggressive. It's the first time we've seen that spread out 2-3 zone," commented McVay. "When a team is that spread out, it gives us the opportunity to penetrate and pass the ball for open shots."
Clay City opened up the second half with a 13-2 run as four Eminence turnovers resulted in a hoop from Camrand Tucker, a 3-pointer by Brock Roberts, a lay-in by Clay Jones and one by Jared Defore.
But Eminence made a rally on the strength of their own defense which forced five turnovers by Clay City.
Eminence put together their own run bookended by Chris White's 3-pointer that got the Eels within 37-22 and Casey Crone's buzzer-beating 3-pointer that ended an 11-2 run.
With the Eels now trailing just 39-30 Clay City quickly gathered themselves during the break between the third and fourth quarters.
"We didn't capitalize enough on their turnovers throughout the game," said McVay.
The fourth quarter however, was a different story.
The Eels picked up the pressure versus Eminence, forcing seven turnovers in the final period and putting together a 16-2 burst to put away the visitors.
"We did a much better job of attacking the basket as the game went on," noted McVay.
Clay City's fourth quarter outburst featured a balanced scoring attack. Six different Eels got in the scoring column in the period with Tucker picking up four points and two rebounds to go with Defore's two and Harden's six.
"We need that to be successful," said McVay. "It's extremely important that we're unselfish. All of those kids are capable of scoring 15-20 points in a given night."
On the night, five different players scored eight or more points for Clay City with Tucker recording a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jared Defore scored 13 points for the Eels.
Clay City (3-2 overall, 2-0 in the TRC) will face Bloomfield at home in a key SWIAC Conference matchup on Friday night beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Moss 2-4 0-2 4, K.Malott 3-5 0-0 7, White 2-7 3-4 10, Saucerman 3-8 0-0 6, York 1-2 0-0 2, Crone 1-6 0-0 3, Adkisson 0-0 0-0 0, Palencer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-32 3-4 32.
Clay City (59)
Tucker 5-8 0-0 10, Jones 4-9 0-0 9, Defore 5-10 3-4 13, Harden 7-14 3-4 17, Roberts 3-8 0-0 8, Roeschlein 0-1 0-0 0, Knox 0-0 0-0 0, Wells 0-1 0-0 0, Dyer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-52 8-10 59.
3-point fieldgoals -- Eminence 3-8 (Crone 1-4, K.Malott 1-2, White 1-2), Clay City 3-13 (Roberts 2-5, Jones 1-4, Defore 0-4). Total Rebounds -- Eminence 25 (Saucerman 4, White 4), Clay City 28 (Tucker 10). Total Fouls -- Eminence 6, Clay City 8. Turnovers -- Eminence 25, Clay City 12.
JV -- Clay City 69, Eminence 33
Clay City (Thatcher 16, Knox 12, Griffith 10, Johnson 10)