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Clay City Eels fall short regular season finale at South Putnam

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Clay City's Kristen Tyler dives for a loose ball in Tuesday's loss.

The Clay City Lady Eels lost a heartbreaker in Putnamville Tuesday, falling to the South Putnam Lady Eagles 39-35.

The Eels controlled the tempo of the game for most of the way and saw another solid performance (16 points, 6 rebounds) from point guard and leading scorer Whitney McWilliams, but late turnovers allowed South Putnam to capture the lead in the final minutes. While disappointed with the end result, Clay City Coach Keith Jones liked the way his team played.

"We had some critical turnovers in the stretch, and we missed some shots, too," he said. "Overall, though, I can't be that critical of our game. We controlled things most of the way."

The Eels (8-12) gave up a significant size advantage to the Eagles-- Clay City's starting five averaged nearly three inches shorter than South Putnam's-- and the Eagles capitalized, invading Clay City's passing lanes to force 17 turnovers.

"We can't (prepare for) that," said Eels Coach Keith Jones. "You can't make normal passes against them, they take up so much room with their wingspan."

Clay City led after each of the first two quarters, as McWilliams shot 2-for-3 from three-point range and center Sarah Kennedy dropped in nine first-half points. But the Eagles never fell out of striking distance, tying the game at 30 by the end of the third quarter and holding the Eels to one field goal in the fourth.

A short jumper by South Putnam freshman Oceaia Boetjer with 4:00 to play put the Eagles up 37-35, and a turnover on the ensuing possession effectively ended Clay City's chances.

Kennedy added 13 points to McWilliams' 16, with the rest of the Eels roster combining for six. Meghan Canary led South Putnam with 19.

Clay City's junior varsity fared somewhat better against the Eagles. The Eels JV held South Putnam to three field goals in the game and cruised to a 57-11 win. Emily Reed led the Eels with 17, followed by freshman center Britney Glass with 16.

Clay City finishes the regular season and will be off until Tuesday's sectional action at home begins with a game against White River Valley.

At South Putnam

South Putnam (39)

Meghan Canary 8-16 2-7 19, Jessica Canary 2-8 1-2 5, Birt 1-8 2-6 4, Booe 1-7 1-2 3, Mink 2-3 0-2 4, Robinson 1-1 0-0 2, Boetjer 1-2 0-0 2, Searles 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-45 6-19 39

Clay City (35)

McWilliams 6-17 0-0 16, Collins 0-2 0-0 0, Gerber 1-1 0-0 2, Camp 0-2 0-0 0, Kennedy 6-12 1-2 13, Steiner 0-2 0-0 0, Riggs 0-0 2-2 2, Tyler 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 14-37 3-4 35

South Putnam 10 9 11 9 -- 39

Clay City 11 10 9 5 -- 35

3-point field goals-- CC 4-9 (McWilliams 4-9), SP 1-4 (M. Canary 1-4).

Total Rebounds-- CC 26 (Kennedy 10, McWilliams 6), SP 31 (Booe 8, Birt 5).

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