Kyle Hughes (#22) will be a key off the bench for North Clay's eighth grade team in the WIC Tourney.
The North Clay eighth-grade Knights are firing on all cylinders as they prepare to defend their Western Indiana Conference title this weekend.
The Knights finished out the regular season with a 49-26 drubbing of Rockville Thursday night. Every player on the North Clay roster scored a point in the victory, which improved the Knights' record on the season to 14-1. Awarded a first-round bye in the WIC, the heavily-favored Knights will face the winner of the South Vermillion-Brown County match-up at 2 p.m. on Saturday at North Clay.
North Clay has captured the WIC title two of the past three years, and Knights Coach Tom McCullough doesn't see any reason why they won't go back-to-back.
"We don't worry about the other team," he said. "If we play within ourselves, those other teams are going to have to beat us."
While the Knights roster boasts its share of individually dominant players, McCullough said unselfishness and balanced team play have been the keys to North Clay's success this season.
"They don't really care who scores," he said. "We might overpass some, but that's a good thing. There's not a whole lot of jealousy on anybody's part."
North Clay's first game of the tournament could be its toughest. The Knights didn't play Brown County during the regular season, and McCullough admitted he didn't know what to expect from the Eagles. North Clay center Clay DeWeese said he was more concerned about South Vermillion than any other team in the tournament, and his coach offered a similar assessment of the Wildcats, who were able to smother North Clay's perimeter game when the two teams met Jan. 9.
"They're a good, hustlin' team," McCullough said. "If they hit some shots..."
McCullough declined to predict a championship, but with a number-one seed and the best record in the WIC, it's probably safe to say he likes his team's chances.
Sidebar: North Clay's B-team also notched a win Thursday, dismantling an outsized Rockville squad to finish out an unbeaten season.
The Knights opened the contest with a 12-0 run and amassed a 30-2 lead by the end of the first quarter. North Clay never looked back, coasting to a 60-15 win and an unblemished record for the season.
Scott Wheeler and Kyle Hughes led the way for North Clay, combining for half of the Knights' 60 total points. Coach Tom McCullough said Wheeler and Hughes represented the core of a dangerous North Clay bench, which he predicted would figure prominently in the upcoming Western Indiana Conference tournament.
Sixth grade girls
split with Owen Valley
The A team won their game 35-31. Dallas Butts had 16, Alyssa Conrad had 10, Kalyn Lucas added five points, Heidi Hansen had two along with Kylie McKee.
The 'B' team lost 18-10 as Margit Bloesing-Anderson scored four points and Josie Hensler, Samantha Montague, and Aubrey Welton each scored two.
The 'A' squad is now 3-2 overall.