Times Sports Editor
The success of the North Clay football team carried over to the season opener for the North Clay eighth grade basketball team on Monday night.
The Knights' defense shutout the visiting Honey Creek in the first quarter and used the front court muscle to pull out to a 44-32 victory.
In the first half, the Knights used the front court power of Bryant Pestoff and Chance Talbot, key cogs in the football team's success, to open a 25-11 halftime advantage.
Talbot had seven points and five rebounds in the first half and Pestoff added in five points and two boards in the first quarter in gathering the lead.
Meanwhile, North Clay held the Bees scoreless in the opening six minutes, not allowing a basket until 36 seconds had elapsed in the second period.
Damon Hyatt added five second quarter points along with three rebounds and Kodie Girton hauled in five first half boards.
Honey Creek adjusted their defense to open the second half, coming out with some full court pressure.
The Bees forced seven turnovers in the second quarter and whittled away North Clay's lead into single-digits during the third period, but the Knights would respond in kind.
With the score at 31-23 with 3:48 remaining, Talbot scored following a timeout. Rodney Lockman answered with two of his six points in the fourth period for Honey Creek. But Zach Hull came through for a hoop and Hyatt scored off a layin following a steal to push the lead back to 37-27 to put the game away.
Hull had seven of his nine points in the final period and Hyatt finished with nine points to go with six rebounds. Talbot finished with a team-high 11 points and 11 rebounds with Pestoff adding seven points and five rebounds. Dillion Reynolds had four points on free throws.
The ‘B' team got off to a slow start, falling behind 10-8 at halftime, but bounced back to take a 19-17 victory.
The Knights got four points and three rebounds from Brock Wheeler in a pivotal third quarter that saw North Clay take their first lead.
Wheeler had six points and six rebounds in the victory while Jordan Girton had five boards. Grant Stearley came through with three rebounds and two crucial free throws in the final quarter and Alex Jervis spread out two points and three rebounds. T.J. Decker added in three rebounds and Connor Bowman added two more.
The Knights each improve to 1-0 overall with a road trip to Sarah Scott on Thursday at 5 p.m.
North Clay sixth grade
The sixth grade ‘A' team picked up their second win of the season with a 56-16 victory over Chauncey Rose on Monday.
The Knights cruised out to a 31-10 lead at halftime and then held the Royals to just six points in the second quarter of the victory.
Jim Mace had 11 points to lead the team while Ethan Whitson added in 10 points for the Knights. Trevor Okulovich poured in nine points in the balanced effort that saw 10 players score.
Nate Newton scored seven points with Mark Underwood tallying five and Connor Ganley chipping in with four along with Nic Yocom. Kyle Moore and Ian Heffner each had two points along with Daniel Kimball.
The ‘B' team dropped a 25-20 decision despite seven points from Kelly Hawkins and five from Tyler Rector. Austin Butts scored four and both Colton Burgess and Connor Ringo had two each.
The ‘A' team is now 2-0 while the ‘B' team is 1-1 with a road game against Woodrow Wilson on Monday at 5 p.m.
North Clay seventh grade
The seventh grade Knights are still working off their football legs and the effects were seen in a 49-24 loss to Honey Creek.
The ‘A' squad got seven points from Phillip Lalen and six from Larry Shaffer, but the Bees were too much.
Craig Peters added five with Dallas King chipping in with three, Braden Parr added two and Bryce Britton added a point.
The ‘B' team dropped a 39-4 decision with both Jordan Tracy and Garrett Baysinger tallying two points.