SWITZ CITY -- The Clay City Eels led by 12 points late in the third quarter and looked to wrap up an opening round victory in the Greene County Tournament.
The Linton Miners had other ideas.
The Miners clamped on a 1-3-1 trap on the Eels who were unable to hand the pressure applied by Linton. "If your a varsity team and you can't handle a 1-3-1 trap you don't deserve to win," said Clay City coach Grant McVay.
The Eels didn't.
The Miners put together a 7-2 run capped by a Caleb Fischer 3-pointer to end the quarter and continued their run into the final quarter. Linton scored the first five points of the fourth quarter as Clay City turned the ball over six times over a five minute span. The Miners eventually took the lead when Josh Miller stripped T.L. Roeschlein of the ball at halfcourt and scored on a layin at the 4:21 mark. Miller then drilled a 3-pointer to cement the lead at the 3:00 mark.
"When your guys are more concerned about not turning the ball over instead of looking at the basket you're going to have problems," said McVay.
Judging by the first half, few would have believed that the Eels would have been the predicament they were in late in the game.
Garrett Thatcher was dominant in the first half for Clay City, scoring 16 points in the post and pulling down eight rebounds. The Eels led 26-17 at the break as Clay City dominated the boards and in the post. The Eels hit eight-of-nine shots in the second quarter and outrebounded Linton 18-6.
But the second half was a different story.
Linton used the trap to their advantage and forced eight second half turnovers while holding Thatcher scoreless past the first minute of the third quarter.
The Miners chipped away at Clay City's lead, putting together a 16-4 run into the fourth quarter to take a 39-35 advantage.
After two Josey Vansickle free throws the Eels were within 39-37 and got a chance to tie after Riley Beach missed the front end of a one-and-one at the free throw line. But Brock Dyer missed a pair of late 3-pointers and Linton hit five-of-six free throws down the stretch.
After the loss, McVay pondered his team's loser's bracket game this evening at 7:30 p.m.
"How we approach (Thursday's) game has to do with our maturity," said McVay. "If you can't put on your school's uniform and come out fired up to play then you shouldn't be playing."
Fischer 4-7 4-8 12, Miller 5-10 2-2 14, Beach 2-7 0-0 4, Spinks 0-2 0-0 0, Suthard 3-9 1-3 7, D.Dunkerly 0-1 0-0 0, E.Herndon 1-2 2-2 5, C.Dunkerly 0-1 0-0 0, Summers 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 16-40 9-15 44.
Clay City (40)
Roeschlein 3-5 0-0 6, Knox 0-1 0-0 0, Vansickle 4-12 3-4 11, Schroer 0-0 0-0 0, Dyer 2-9 0-0 5, Thatcher 8-13 2-2 18, Griffith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-40 5-6 40.
3-point fieldgoals -- Linton 3-10 (Miller 2-4, E.Herndon 1-1, Beach 0-3, Spink 0-1, C.Dunkerly 0-1), Clay City 1-6 (Dyer 1-3, Vansickle 0-3). Total Rebounds -- Linton 23 (Several with four), Clay City 27 (Thatcher 9, Roeschlein 7). Total Fouls -- Linton 10, Clay City 16. Turnovers -- Linton 10, Clay City 14.