EMINENCE -- With a huge battle with the Class A 2nd-ranked Bloomfield Cardinals looming on Friday night, it would have been easy for Clay City to overlook their Tuesday matchup with Eminence.
Unluckily for Eminence, it didn't happen.
Clay City opened the game with a 10-0 burst while Eminence turned the ball over four consecutive times and the visiting Eels held off any challenges in winning 62-43.
The visiting Eels opened strong, capitalizing on Eminence's ball possession problems, but eventually went cold from the field.
Eminence rallied to close within 14-10 after one quarter and trailed 32-23 at halftime despite being outrebounded 22-12 in the first two periods. Josey Vansickle had a lot to due with the Eels' advantage at the break, hitting for 12 second quarter points and 15 in the first half. But Eminence still was within striking distance which had a lot to do with the fact that Dustin Griffith and Brock Dyer each were in a degree of foul trouble.
"We faced some adversity tonight with regards to being in foul trouble," commented Clay City coach Grant McVay. "Hopefully we'll be better because of that. It was a physical game. I know we were tired at the end. Our physical effort was there but we can't allow our mental effort to drop because we're tired."
Griffith picked up three fouls in the first half and spent some time on the bench and Dyer had six rebounds in the first two quarters but also sat with a pair of fouls.
However, Dyer was back in the mix to kick off the third quarter, picking up a basket which was followed by a Casey Crone 3-pointer for Eminence to make the score 34-26. But Clay City responded with a pair of free throws from Garrett Thatcher, part of a 14 point, eight rebound night. They continued to pull away as Vansickle scored before Klay Knox got a basket off a steal to increase their lead to 40-26.
"At times we executed well tonight," said McVay. "We got some great scoring opportunities."
Another Crone 3-pointer pulled the Eels to within 40-29 before Clay City ran off another four points to extend their advantage and held a 46-31 lead through three quarters.
Eminence would make one last run in the game on back-to-back 3-pointers to get within 52-40. "I was impressed with some of the things they were doing," said McVay of first-year head coach Matt Maschino's Eminence squad. "They played hard, but we felt like we could attack some seams in their defense."
Clay City did that, led by Vansickle's slashing drives to the basket. He would score a game-high 25 points to lead the Eels and they would finish off Eminence with a closing 10-3 run.
The Eels (2-1 overall) will travel to Bloomfield for a 6:30 p.m. junior varsity tipoff on Friday night.
Clay City (62)
Roeschlein 2-7 2-5 6, Knox 1-2 2-2 4, Vansickle 7-8 9-9 25, Dyer 3-7 2-3 8, Thatcher 5-12 4-6 14, Griffith 2-7 0-1 4, Schroer 0-1 0-0 0, Bettenbrock 0-0 1-2 1, Jeffers 0-0 0-0 0, Farmer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-44 19-28 62.
E.Lockwood 1-2 2-4 5, Crone 2-4 0-1 6, Malott 4-10 4-8 14, Adkinson 6-13 0-0 13, Hall 0-5 0-1 0, Moss 1-3 0-0 2, Smith 1-2 0-0 3, G.Lockwood 0-2 0-1 0. Totals : 15-41 6-8 43.
3-point fieldgoals -- Clay City 2-6 (Vansickle 2-2, Griffith 0-1, Schroer 0-1, Knox 0-1, Roeschlein 0-1), Eminence 7-16 (Crone 2-2, Adkinson 1-4, Smith 1-2, Malott 2-4, Moss 0-1, E.Lockwood 1-1, G.Lockwood 0-2). Total Rebounds -- Clay City 37 (Thatcher 8, Dyer 6), Eminence 23 (Several with 3). Total Fouls -- Clay City 17, Eminence 24. Fouled out -- Clay City (Dyer), Eminence (E.Lockwood, Malott). Turnovers -- Clay City 20, Eminence 24.