Clay City eighth grader Bill Newton (number 32) drives to the basket late in the Eels' 33-24 win over the Eastern Greene Thunderbirds Monday. Newton scored 21 points in the win.
The Clay City Eels' eighth grade basketball team staved off a second-half surge to defeat the Eastern Greene Thunderbirds Monday.
Clay City overcame a potent but streaky Eastern Greene offense to improve to a perfect 4-0 record on the season. Forward Bill Newton netted 21 in the 33-24 victory. Center Jacob Payne added six to the total, while both players turned in sturdy defensive performances.
Both teams struggled to establish an offensive rhythm early in the first quarter. Thunderbirds guard Cody Sparks drove the baseline and dropped in a lay up at 4:10 in the first to break a scoreless tie. Clay City's offense, which had dominated in the team's first three contests, was largely silenced in the first quarter by a solid Eastern Greene defense, but the Eels managed to tie the score at six by the end of the period.
Clay City surged in the second quarter, as Payne connected with Newton under the basket with devastating precision. The Eels led by a score of 14-6 at the two minute mark when Eastern Greene forward Davis Russell drained a three, scoring the Thunderbirds' only second-quarter points. Newton added another four for the Eels, who led 18-9 at the half.
Forward Geordi McLennan opened the third with two quick three-pointers to narrow the Clay City lead to three, but the Eels were able retain control of the game. Eastern Greene continued its run throughout the third, but Clay City held the Thunderbirds to two points in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Clay City's seventh-grade squad didn't fare as well against Eastern Greene, losing their first contest of the season by a score of 32-21. Only two Eels managed any points against a stingy Thunderbirds' defense (Tyler Bridgewater contributed 11, with Ethan Shaw adding 10). The seventh-grade Eels' record fell to 3-1 with the loss.
The Eels will face Sullivan on November 28 at 6 p.m.