- Eels will face top-ranked 1A White River Valley on Friday -
SWITZ CITY -- For the third consecutive season the Clay City Eels will face off with the White River Valley Wolverines in the semifinals of the Greene County Basketball Tournament.
Both squads got past their opening opponents with comfortable, double-digit victories to set up another matchup.
The defending tournament champion Eels defeated the Linton-Stockton Miners in Wednesday night's second game, 49-35, behind a 20 point effort from guard Jared Defore. Meanwhile, the Wolverines led by as many as 20 against Shakamak before holding off the Lakers 69-58 as A.J. Graves rang up 31 points.
The Eels dominated the Miners on the boards 34-20, including 14-7 in the first half when Clay City took a 25-14 lead.
Defore scored eight points in the second quarter while Clay City held their opponents to just four points.
In the second half, Clay City ran off seven of the first eight points of the half to jump out to a 29-15 lead after Camrand Tucker picked up a basket. But Linton would respond with a run of their own.
"I'd have to say that since I've been (at Clay City), we've never had an easy game with Linton," commented Clay City coach Grant McVay. "(McVay and Linton coach Gene Hall) are similar in our approach to teaching the game," said McVay. "Their kids aren't just going to lay down. They are going to keep competing."
The result was the Miners putting together a 12-1 run led from behind the arc by a pair of 3-pointers from Evan Herndon and a long range shot by Steele Spinks.
With just a 30-27 lead, Clay City went back to their bread and butter inside game led by Roger Harden and Camrand Tucker.
Harden scored nine of his 11 points and pulled down five rebounds in the second half while Tucker had six points and five boards to spur the Eels to a 12-0 run of their own to put away the Miners.
In the opening game, the Wolverines jumped out to a 15 point halftime lead on the strength of Graves' 18 points on perfect nine-of-nine shooting from the field. However, the Lakers would make a run of their own as Brent Essex hit a trio of 3-pointers in the second half.
All together the Lakers hit 10 from beyond the arc in the game to keep them close despite 57 percent (28-of-49) shooting from the field by White River Valley.
Essex and Tyler Rehmel each scored 12 points for Shakamak to lead the way. Brent Zimmerly and Cody English each tallied 11 points for the Wolverines.
Clay City and White River Valley's last three games over the past two seasons have gone to at least one overtime.
The Eels and Wolverines will play in Friday's second game after Vincennes Rivet and Eastern Greene face off in the 6 p.m. opener.
Clay City (49)
Tucker 3-7 2-3 8, Defore 8-13 1-1 20, Harden 5-11 1-2 11, Roberts 2-6 1-1 5, Jones 1-3 0-0 3, Wells 0-2 0-0 0, Dyer 1-1 0-0 2, Romas 0-0 0-0 0, Roeschlein 0-1 0-0 0, Knox 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-44 5-7 49.
Fischer 5-12 2-5 14, Beach 3-12 0-1 6, Herndon 2-4 0-0 6, Spinks 1-3 0-0 3, Austin 0-0 2-2 2, Firestone 0-4 0-0 0, Miller 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 13-39 4-8 35.
3-pointfieldgoals -- Clay City 4-10 (Defore 3-5, Roberts 0-1, Jones 1-3, Roberts 0-1), Linton 5-10 (Fischer 2-3, Herndon 2-4, Spinks 1-3). Total Rebounds -- Clay City 34 (Harden 11, Tucker 8, Defore 5), Linton 20 (Several with 3). Total Fouls -- Clay City 7, Linton 6. Turnovers -- Clay City 15, Linton 12.