Clay City's Chelsee Gerber (#10) soars to the basket for two of her seven points off the bench for the Eels in a win over Linton.
CLAY CITY -- When Clay City and Linton square off in any sport it's always a battle and Wednesday's girls basketball contest was no exception.
The Eels put together an 11-3 run midway through the third quarter to take control of the game and were able to hold off a physical Miners team 41-32.
Neither team had much luck shooting the ball in the game, but it was the key two minute stretch after halftime that gave Clay City a margin they wouldn't relinquish.
With a tentative 18-16 lead, the Eels' Whitney McWilliams, who had hit just one of her first 10 shots from the field, drilled a 3-pointer, scored on a layin and hit another from long range to put Clay City ahead 26-19 following a 3-pointer from Ashlea Beard of Linton. But McWilliams fed sophomore Mardi Steiner for another 3-pointer that put Clay City ahead 29-19 late in the period.
Linton junior Brooke Baize scored a pair of baskets, one to end the third quarter, and another to open the fourth period to get the Miners within 29-23, but McWilliams scored off a steal to extend the lead once more.
Kristin Tyler hit a free throw and after Hannah Gennicks missed a free throw for Linton, Sarah Kennedy followed with a basket along the baseline to push the lead to 11 at 34-23 for the Eels.
While Clay City got into foul trouble in the game, the Miners weren't able to capitalize from the free throw line, hitting just six-of-22 (27 percent), including just two-of-seven in the fourth quarter.
"We just didn't hit any shots," commented Linton coach Mike Riggleman. "Our defense was good, we contained (Whitney) McWilliams fairly well for the game, but when it came down to it we just didn't hit our shots."
In fact, Linton hit only 12-of-47 (25 percent) from the field for the game, but the Eels struggled as well. Clay City knocked down only 27 percent (12-of-44) for the game, but it was the key stretch in the third quarter that allowed the Eels to create some breathing room.
"That was probably one of our better third quarters," commented Clay City coach Keith Jones. "They are scrappy, physical and quick," he said of Linton's squad.
Linton dominated on the boards in the game, outrebounding Clay City 46-32 with Beard pulling down a game-high 14 and Baize adding another eight.
However, free throw shooting was key down the stretch.
After Brianna Ward scored on a drive to the basket for the Miners, cutting the Clay City lead to 36-28, a technical foul was called on Riggleman following a foul call on Linton.
McWilliams stepped to the line for the Eels and hit both free throws, part of her team-high 15 points, and Chelsee Gerber followed with another two free throws. The shots extended the lead back to double-digits and effectively ended the Miners chance at victory.
"That's a good win for us," said Jones afterwards. "We've had trouble with Linton the last few years, we needed that 'W'.
Linton falls to 4-8 overall this year with a trip to Union (Dugger) on Jan. 12 and the Eels will take to the road for a trip to Owen Valley on Jan. 9.
Clay City 41, Linton 32
At Clay City
York 0-5 0-0 0, Firestone 1-1 0-0 2, Fusco 0-3 0-2 0, Beard 2-8 0-0 5, Poe 4-11 1-4 9, Ward 2-8 2-4 7, Gennicks 0-6 3-7 3, Blaize 3-5 0-4 6. Totals: 12-47 6-22.
Clay City (41)
McWilliams 5-16 3-4 15, Collins 1-2 2-5 4, Steiner 1-3 2-2 5, Tyler 0-5 1-2 1, Kennedy 1-7 3-4 5, Riggs 2-3 0-0 4, Gerber 2-6 3-4 7, Camp 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 12-44 14-21 41.
3-point fieldgoals -- Ln 2-8 (York 0-2, Beard 1-2, Ward 1-4), CC 3-6 (McWilliams 2-5, Steiner 1-1). Total Rebounds -- Ln 46 (Beard 14, Blaize 8),CC 32 (Kennedy 12, Tyler 5). Total Fouls -- Ln 17, CC 25. Fouled out -- CC (Steiner). Turnovers -- Ln 24, CC 18.