Times Sports Editor
ROCKVILLE -- Despite losing a 15-point first half lead and trailing by as many as four, early in the fourth quarter, the Clay City Eels were resilient enough to score a 60-58 win over host Rockville on Monday night.
The Eels got a pair of clutch 3-pointers from Mardi Steiner, who scored eight of her 12 points in the final four minutes, to overcome that deficit and finally were able to exhale when a missed shot from Kieran McMullen was rebounded by Britney Glass at the buzzer.
"I can't say enough about (the team) not letting (the game) get away from them," commented Clay City coach Keith Jones. "I'm proud of that."
The Eels came out on fire as they pulled out to a 22-7 lead early in the second quarter as Rockville missed seven-of-nine shots in the first quarter.
However, the Rox began to exercise their considerable size advantage and put pressure on the Eels' ball handlers.
Rockville's Beth Mahurin, a 6'2 freshman, and the 5'9 McMullen, were thorns in the Eels' side all night, but specifically in the middle two quarters when they were powerful on the boards.
Rockville used a 12-0 run to get within two points late in the first half before the Eels got a free throw from Glass and a basket from Camp pushed the lead back to 27-21 at the break.
McMullen wasted little time getting into the flow of the second half, getting a jumper from senior point guard, Chelsie Stout and three straight hoops from McMullen to get within 32-29 after a jumper from Emily Reed and a free throw from Camp.
The Rox finally culminated their comeback with four minutes left in the third quarter when they knotted the score at 33-33 on two free throws from Stout.
From there, the two teams staged a 12-minute battle royal to the buzzer.
Rockville claimed their first lead shortly afterwards on a perimeter jumper from Stout, but the Eels had Lydia Farmer on their side.
The senior forward scored on a jumper to tie the game and then rebounded her own miss and added a jumper later to give Clay City the lead at 41-40.
But it was Rockville that took the lead into the fourth quarter, 44-42.
That lead would eventually grow to 46-42 on a jumper from freshman Lindsey Greene, who hit her first six shots from the field.
The lead would see-saw back-and-forth three times as each team struggled for supremacy in the Clay/Parke County battle.
But with the Eels trailing 52-50, Glass sank a free throw and, following a Rockville turnover at midcourt, Camp sank the tying free throw, part of a 19-point night.
Then it was Steiner's turn.
She stepped to the left side of the arc and calmly knocked home a 3-pointer for a 55-52 lead with just under two minutes left in the game. Stout missed an answering long range bomb and Steiner hauled down the rebound, was fouled, and hit both free throws for a seemingly comfortable lead at 57-52.
Rockville returned the favor with a three-point play of its own from McMullen who drove the lane to get within 57-55. McMullen followed that up with a baseline drive for a score and another foul.
The following free throw suddenly gave the Rox a 58-57 lead with just 56 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Eels got the ball to their senior guard again, Steiner rewarded her team by draining another 3-pointer, this one would give the Eels the lead, and eventually the win.
"That (3-pointer) was huge," said Jones.
"Brittney Glass played one of her best games ever," said Jones.
The junior had nine points for the Eels and Reed had seven points and eight rebounds in the win.
"I thought our girls adjusted well and didn't lose their composure," said Jones of his team that improved to 2-1 overall.
The Eels will contest White River Valley on the road Nov. 26 in a SWIAC game.
Clay City (60)
Glass 3-9 3-7 9, Reed 2-5 3-5 7, Steiner 3-10 4-5 12, Farmer 4-9 0-0 8, Camp 7-9 5-9 19, Miller 0-0 2-2 2, Targett 1-3 1-2 3. Totals: 20-45 18-29 60.
Stout 4-10 4-4 12, Camerer 0-0 0-0 0, McMullen 7-22 3-4 17, Flaurrer 2-5 0-0 5, Burgess 0-0 1-2 1, Greene 6-9 0-0 12, Mahurin 3-5 2-6 8, Harper 0-1 0-0 0, Vukovits 1-4 0-0 2, Sherron 0-2 1-2 1. Totals: 23-58 11-19 58.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 2-5 (Steiner 2-5), Rv 1-13 (Flaurer 1-3, Stout 0-3, McMullen 0-7). Total Rebounds -- CC 35 (Farmer 8, Reed 8), Rv 30 (McMullen 9). Total Fouls -- CC 16, Rv 21. Fouled out -- Rv (Harper). Turnovers -- CC 19, Rv 15.