CLOVERDALE -- Clay Jones and Jared Defore, both seniors, have waited three years for their turn on the Clay City varsity basketball team. But with little varsity experience between them, the first five games of the season have been a learning experience.
Coach Grant McVay's patience with Defore and Jones paid off Tuesday night at Cloverdale High School. Defore and Jones combined for 25 second-half points while leading the Clay City Eels to a 61-58 victory in the non-conference boys high school basketball game.
Jones scored 12 of his team-leading 18 points and Defore netted 13 of his 17 points in the third and fourth quarters. Forward Brock Roberts scored 15 points in the Eels third win in six starts.
"[Our] guards stepped up in the second half," a happy Coach Grant McVay
said. "The first half, I think we had 17 turnovers and we had six in the second half."
Despite the turnovers, Clay City (3-3) trailed just 22-20 at halftime.
With Cloverdale's wide-open, up-and-down the court, three-point shooting offense, McVay expected Clay City to have a few more turnovers.
"But 17 turnovers in the first half, I don't care if you're playing Duke,
that's unacceptable. Give Cloverdale a lot of credit for flying around [the court], but our guards were nonchalant [which] had a lot to do with it," McVay said.
The second half, Jones and Defore attacked at both end of the court.
Defore scored 10 points in 2 minutes and 25 seconds, including two 3-point buckets, and a Jones layup put the Eels on top 37-32 with 2:53 to play in the third quarter.
"[Clay Jones has] not play played much varsity, so hopefully tonight
was a legitimate step toward being a good varsity guard," McVay said.
Chase Haltom, who led all scorers with 23 points, hit a trey for Cloverdale to tie the score 38-38. But a three by Roberts gave the Eels a 41-38 edge heading into the final eight minutes.
Cloverdale tied the score for the last time at 45-45 with 6:15 to play.
Roberts scored inside to put Clay City ahead for good with 5:56 to play. Jones drove the lane and from that moment the Eels countered every move the Clovers made.
"We played one of the best defensive teams we'll face this year," Cloverdale Coach Dave Walton said. "They did a good job shutting down our offense."
Clay City also owned a 42-27 rebounding advantage, which slowed the Cloverdale attack in the second half. Roger Harden led the Eels with 12 rebounds and Defore grabbed nine.
"With the [number of] threes Cloverdale takes, you're going to have a lot of long rebounds. If you give up second shot opportunities too often, with their fire power, you're going to get hurt. We got hurt on some, but for the number of rebounds there were, I thought our kids, for the most part, did a good job of pursuing the basketball," McVay said.
Clay City made it a sweep at Cloverdale, winning the junior varsity game 68-42 with Garrett Thatcher scoring 19, Klay Knox 16 and Stephen Johnson 12.
Clay City (61)
Roberts 6-14 2-2 15, Tucker 1-5 1-1 3, Harden 3-10 2-6 8, Jones 7-9 4-6 18, Defore 5-10 5-6 17, Wells 0-0 0-0 0, Vansickle 0-0 0-0 0, Roeschlein 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-48 FG, 14-21 FT, 61 TP.
McCammon 2-13 0-0 6, Welty 3-6 0-0 7, Cline 2-6 0-0 4, Langdon 6-13 1-3 14, Haltom 8-17 4-4 23, Trinkle 2-2 0-1 4, Evans 0-2 0-0 0, Lovins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-59 FG, 5-8 FT, 58 TP.
3Pt. Goals: Clay City 3-8 (Defore 2-3, Roberts 1-2, Jones 0-1, Harden 0-2), Cloverdale 7-25 (Haltom 3-5, McCammon 2-11, Welton 1-4, Langdon 1-5). Total fouls: Clay City 13, Cloverdale 22. Fouled out: Langdon. Rebounds: Clay City 42 (Harden 12, Defore 9), Cloverdale 27 (Cline 10). Turnovers: Clay City 24, Cloverdale 15.
JV Game: Clay City won 68-42. Garrett Thatcher 19 points, Klay Knox 16, Stephen Johnson 12 for Clay City (4-2).
Next game: Clay City (3-3, 1-1 in SWIAC) travels to Vincennes Rivet on
Friday. Cloverdale (3-2, 1-0 in WCC) travels to Monrovia (4-2, 2-0 in
WCC) on Friday.