CLAY CITY -- There is certainly no place like home for the Clay City Eels.
After finishing off a five-game road swing, the Eels returned home and hammered the visiting South Putnam Eagles 72-55 on Tuesday night.
The Eels got going quickly on their home court behind the outside shooting of Brock Roberts.
Roberts nailed a trio of 3-pointers in the first quarter, part of his 12 points in the opening quarter, and Clay City hit nine-of-14 from the field in the period. However, the Eagles had a hot streak of their own going as Sam Beasor scored eight points to keep the Eagles within 25-18.
"We were concerned with their post play coming in," commented Clay City head coach Grant McVay. "We felt that was (South Putnam's) strength, but we felt like our big guys could run more than theirs could."
McVay was proved correct as Clay City forward Roger Harden tallied 11 points in the first half as the Eels took a 41-32 lead at halftime.
As a team, the Eels shot 56 percent from the field (14-of-25) in the half, but South Putnam stayed close on 58 percent (15-of-26) shooting despite 11 turnovers.
The second half proved decisive however as Clay City turned up the defensive pressure in the paint, forcing the Eagles out of the paint for their shots.
"When we came in at halftime, before I said anything, I wrote 23 on the board because that is what I wanted us to hold (the Eagles) to defensively," commented McVay.
He proved to be prophetic.
The Eels clamped down on the Eagles in the final two quarters, and in fact did hold South Putnam to 23 points in the second half. Meanwhile Clay City kept up their hot shooting and pulled away slowly to the decisive 17 point victory.
Four Clay City players scored in double-figures led by Harden's 19 points and Roberts' 16. Jared Defore scored 12 points and Clay Jones hit all eight of his free throws in the fourth quarter to end with 10 in the game.
"Camrand Tucker may not have scored in double-figures tonight, but his energy level the last couple of games is exactly what we've needed. It's tough to take him out of the game because his communication has been so good," noted McVay.
Tucker hit for seven points in the contest for the Eels who move to 7-4 overall this season and prepare for a road trip to Eastern Greene High School on Friday night. Junior varsity action begins at 6 p.m.
In the junior varsity contest the Eels rang up a 50-27 victory over the visiting Eagles.
The Eels led just 8-6 through one quarter but got their outside shooting on track in the second stanza to pull out to a 32-13 lead over the Eagles.
Kyle Romas hit a pair of 3-pointers in the period while both Dustin Griffith and Klay Knox also struck from long range to put away the Eagles.
Griffith led the way for Clay City with 10 points and Knox added nine. Garrett Thatcher chipped in eight.
South Putnam (55)
Williams 4-8 0-0 9, Christy 2-5 4-4 8, Barnett 1-2 0-0 2, Beasor 5-9 0-0 10, Hicks 4-6 0-2 8, Hassler 4-6 1-1 10, Custis 1-5 0-0 2, Roberts 2-6 2-4 6. Totals: 23-47 7-11 55.
Clay City (72)
Tucker 3-8 1-1 7, Defore 5-12 0-1 12, Harden 7-9 4-6 19, Roberts 5-6 3-3 16, Jones 1-3 8-8 10, Dyer 1-2 2-2 4, Wells 1-2 0-0 2, Thatcher 1-1 0-0 2, Dyer 1-2 2-2 4, Roeschlein 0-0 0-2 0, Thatcher 1-1 0-0 2, Knox 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-43 18-23 72.
3-point fieldgoals -- S.Putnam 2-9 (Hassler 1-3, Williams 1-2, Christy 0-2, Barnett 0-1, Hicks 0-1), Clay City 6-11 (Roberts 3-4, Harden 1-2, Defore 2-5). Total Rebounds -- S.Putnam 21 (Several with four), Clay City 21 (Harden 6). Total Fouls -- S.Putnam 21, Clay City 12. Turnovers -- S.Putnam 19, Clay City 11.