On Friday night it became apparent in the second half that the Eels would struggle on the boards and defensively in the paint without the 6'4 forward.
The Golden Arrows extended a six-point halftime lead to 19 with a dominant third quarter that put the Eels away 62-50.
The Eels opened the game with some hot shooting from senior Jared Defore who hit his first three shots, all 3-pointers, as the Eels jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the early going. However, the Golden Arrows used big men Larry Swain (6'6) and Kyle Lane (6'4) to pick away on the inside against the Eels who eventually went cold from the perimeter.
Sullivan closed the first quarter with an 8-2 run to narrow the lead to 15-12 as Lane and Swain combined for 10 points in the period.
The second quarter saw more of the same from Sullivan who were aggressive on the boards and in driving to the basket hit seven-of-nine shots (78 percent) in the period to take a 29-23 advantage at the halfway point.
Swain would score 10 points in the second quarter on the way to a game-high 20 points while the Eels managed just eight points in the period.
The third quarter however was the killer for the Eels who would go stone-cold from the field, hitting just 20 percent (two-of-10) as Sullivan dominated the boards in the quarter.
The Golden Arrows pulled down 10 rebounds in the quarter, limiting the Eels to just one shot per possession. Meanwhile Sullivan hit nearly half (seven-of-15) of their shots in pulling out to a 46-27 lead through three quarters.
The Eels would make a couple of inroads into the Sullivan lead in the final quarter as a Brock Roberts jumper and Camrand Tucker putback basket narrowed the lead to 46-31. Later, a Clay Jones 3-pointer and drive to the basket got the Eels as close as 13 points at 49-36. A turnovers by Sullivan set up a Roberts' 3-point attempt that rimmed out and the Eels early hot shooting from outside cooled off in the final quarters.
The Golden Arrows held Jared Defore to just four points in the final three periods after he hit for nine in the first quarter.
Clay Jones would score nine points, seven in the second half, while Roberts hit for 11 and Tucker eight. However it wasn't enough to overcome Swain's big game along with 14 from Lane and eight points apiece from Darby Baker and Luke Steele.
The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Eels (8-5 overall) who will face North Daviess next Friday night at 6:30 p.m.
The junior varsity Eels dropped a 53-44 decision on Friday night despite 15 points apiece from Klay Knox and Garrett Thatcher.
Knox hit a trio of 3-pointer for the Eels but could not overcome a 10-point halftime deficit.
Clay City (50)
Tucker 3-8 2-3 8, Jones 4-6 0-0 9, Defore 5-12 0-0 13, Roberts 5-9 0-0 11, Wells 0-0 0-0 0, Dyer 1-1 0-0 2, Johnson 1-1 0-0 3, Thatcher 1-1 2-2 4, Roeschlein 0-0 0-0 0, Knox 0-2 0-0 0, Romas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-40 4-5 50.
Cox 3-7 0-0 6, Lane 6-10 2-5 13, Baker 3-3 2-4 8, Steele 3-7 1-2 8, Swain 8-13 4-4 20, Hoffner 1-3 2-2 4, Shorter 1-1 0-1 2, Ridge 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-44 11-18 62.
3-point fieldgoals -- Clay City 5-17 (Defore 3-7, Roberts 1-5, Jones 1-1, Johnson 1-1, Tucker 0-1, Knox 0-2), Sullivan 1-7 (Steele 1-3, Lane 0-2, Cox 0-2). Total Rebounds -- Clay City 23 (Tucker 9), Sullivan 23 (Swain 4). Total Fouls -- Clay City 10, Sullivan 12. Turnovers -- Clay City 16, Sullivan 10.