CLAY CITY -- Last summer while preparing for this high school basketball season, Clay City coach Grant McVay saw the third quarter of Friday night's game coming.
West Vigo's Viking held a 24-23 lead over the Clay City Eels as the second half open. Then the Eels committed four straight turnovers, West Vigo's Sean Lowe hit a 3-pointer and the Vikings were off to a 58-41 victory.
"That, in some ways, is a little bit of a window into our season. When we struggle, we turn the ball over, all year. We knew last summer that that would be the biggest key for us, taking care of the basketball," McVay said.
Having one of its best games of the season, West Vigo built a 36-25 lead in the third quarter and extended the margin out to the final 17 points.
"Tonight was just a great team effort. We had balanced scoring, the kids played unselfish. We did everything we needed to do," West Vigo Coach
John Compton said Josey Vansickle paced Clay City with 18 points, 11 coming in the fourth
quarter when the Eels rallied to within nine points. Garrett Thatcher
scored 10 points.
Jake Peacock led West Vigo with 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
West Vigo led 14-8 after one quarter and extended the margin to 20-12 before Brock Dyer and Vansickle led Clay City on an 11-4 run. Dyer hit a 3-pointer that brought the Eels to within one, 24-23, at halftime.
"We're ahead probably by two-or-three baskets in the first half if we simply limit them to one shot. They really hurt us on the offensive boards the first half," McVay said.
West Vigo outscored Clay City 12-2 in the third quarter, as the Eels were 0-for-8 shooting from the floor while committing eight turnovers. In fact, Clay City played 12 minutes and 22 seconds -- from the 2:10 mark of the second quarter to 5:48 in the third -- without scoring a field goal.
Clay City's well executed zone defense kept West Vigo from running away with the game early in the third quarter. But once ahead 31-25, the Vikings decided to hold the ball and bring the Eels out of the zone.
"I thought that was maybe Coach Compton's best decision of the night, because when you have a Sean Lowe now you kind of force our hand," McVay said. Lowe's quickness became came a lethal weapon when Eels came out of the zone. West Vigo's 5-7 guard drove to the basket, drawing the defense, then dish off to an open teammate.
"My guess is with the exception of Armon (Bassett of Terre Haute South), I'm pretty sure everybody has trouble with Sean Lowe's quickness," McVay said.
West Vigo's lead hit 40-25 with 6:30 to play in the game. Clay City started chipping away at the lead by fouling and sending West Vigo to the free throw line. Prior to the two-minute mark, the Viking hits just 4-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter and the Eels cut the deficit nine points twice, 45-36 with 3:03 to play and 48-39 with 1:53 left.
But during the final two minutes, Vikings were 10-for-10 at the free throws line to lock up the win.
In the junior varsity game, Clay City pulled out a 40-36 victory over West Vigo.
West Vigo (58)
Piper 2-3 3-5 7, Watson 1-4 0-0 2, Evinger 3-5 1-2 7, Adams 0-3 2-2 2, Lowe 5-8 4-5 16, Peacock 5-13 6-9 17, Chapman 2-5 0-1 4, Ofsansky 0-0 3-4 3. Totals 18-41 FG, 20-29 FT, 58 TP.
Clay City (41)
Knox 0-1 2-2 2, Vansickle 6-14 4-4 18, Thatcher 3-11 4-4 10, Griffith 0-1 0-0 0, Bettenbrock 1-4 0-0 2, Roeschlein 0-4 2-5 2, Dyer 2-7 2-2 7, Farmer 0-1 0-0 0, Modesitt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-43 FG, 14-17 FT, 41 TP.
3 Pt. Goals: WV 2-8 (Lowe 1-2, Peacock 1-2, Watson 0-1, Chapman 0-1,
Adams 0-2); CC 3-9 (Vansickle 2-4, Dyer 1-3, Bettenbrock 0-2). Total fouls: WV 19, CC 23. Fouled out: Knox. Technical fouls: None. Rebounds: WV 32 (Peacock 10), CC 31 (Roeschlein 10). Turnovers: WV 11, CC 17.
JV game: Clay City won 40-34.