Chelsee Gerber threads the needle to a teammate in the second quarter on the way to a seven point performance in the Eels' win.
CLAY CITY -- It's been an amazing career thus far, and Whitney McWilliams seems intent on ending it with a bang-- and for the Clay City Lady Eels, a sectional championship on their home court would be a very big bang.
The Clay City senior guard led her team to a first-round sectional victory Tuesday, as the Eels knocked off the Wolverines of White River Valley 48-39. McWilliams, the Eels' all-time leading scorer, announced her presence early, scoring 11 of her 17 points-- and posting a blistering 3-for-3 performance from beyond the arc-- as Clay City cruised to a 19-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But when the Eels began to sputter on the offensive end, the spotlight shifted from McWilliams and the Clay City offense to-- well, McWilliams and the Clay City defense.
"We kept our composure and we were able to cause them a lot of problems. Honestly, I think we won on the defensive end," said Eels Coach Keith Jones. "We haven't really come out and got after (a team) in a while."
Clay City complemented their early scoring rush with a ruthless defensive effort, limiting the Wolverines to just three field goals in the first half. McWilliams made as much of an impact on defense as she did on offense, smothering White River Valley's ballhandlers as the Eels pressed the Wolverines into oblivion.
White River Valley never established an offense, but the Wolverines stood their ground at the free throw line. Jones' aggressive defensive scheme resulted in a slew of fouls, and White River Valley's jaw-dropping 18-of-20 free throw shooting in the first half prevented the Eels from running away with the game. The Wolverines, on just 3-of-14 shooting, headed into halftime down by only 10 points.
White River Valley nearly caught the Eels early in the third, opening the second half with a 6-0 run.
But Clay City woke up in the nick of time. Junior guard Chelsee Gerber hit on a short jumper three minutes into the quarter to break up the Wolverines rally, and the Eels had restored the lead to nine by the end of the third. Clay City matched White River Valley's nine fourth quarter points to secure the win.
McWilliams led the Eels with 17 points, followed by junior center Sarah Kennedy with twelve and Gerber with seven. Clay City will face the winner of Tuesday's matchup between Shakamak and Union Friday at 6 p.m.
Clay City Class A Sectional
At Clay City
Clay City (48)
McWilliams 6-9 1-6 17, Collins 0-1 0-0 0, Gerber 2-3 3-5 7, Camp 3-5 0-2 6, Kennedy 5-10 2-2 12, Withrow 0-0 0-0 0, Steiner 0-3 0-0 0, Riggs 2-3 0-1 4, Tyler 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 18-34 8-18 48
White River Valley (39)
Graves 0-5 4-4 4, Borter 0-1 2-2 2, Goodman 3-6 2-2 8, Lammert 3-5 8-13 14, Anderson 2-10 4-4 8, Davis 1-6 1-2 3. Totals: 9-33 21-27 39
|White River Valley||9||13||8||9||--||39|
3-point field goals-- CC 4-10 (McWilliams 4-7), WRV 0-7 (Anderson 0-4).
Total rebounds-- CC 18 (McWilliams 3, Collins 3, Gerber 3), WRV 28 (Anderson 8, Goodman 6).