Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- What the visiting Patriots of Vincennes Rivet lacked in upperclassmen, they made up for in youthful talent in Monday's battle with home-standing Clay City.
Rivet went nine deep, six players that were either freshmen or a sophomore and were able to come out with a 62-53 victory against the Eels.
The Eels played just six girls against the visitors, but Clay City got off to a strong start as Emily Reed scored six first quarter points and pulled down five rebounds while taking a 14-11 lead.
But Rivet's depth and defensive pressure kept the Patriots close and allowed them to force 15 first half turnovers.
The Eels led until late in the first half before the Patriots rallied behind 3-pointers from Casandra Brocksmith and Chelsey Meeks.
Clay City senior point guard Mardi Steiner was forced to the bench with three fouls at the 3:55 mark of the second quarter and the Eels leading 20-17.
Rivet came on at that point, forcing four more turnovers and outscored the Eels 12-6 to lead 29-26 at the break.
"(Rivet) beat us up," said Clay City coach Keith Jones. "We had chances, but you can't simulate their quickness."
Perhaps the quickest of the Patriots is Meeks, who was held to eight points before halftime, but was the driving force behind Rivet's second-half charge.
Meeks came out and hit a quick jumper followed by a steal and lay-in by one of just two seniors on the Patriots' roster, Chelsea Stafford.
She completed a three-point play and Meeks followed with another jumper to take a 36-28 lead midway through the third quarter.
"She's a good player," said Jones of Meeks. "(Rivet's) going to have a ton," the Eel's coach commented on the Patriots' talented youth.
The Eels didn't falter for long as Lydia Farmer completed a three-point play of her own and Britney Glass and Reed completed the half with hoops to keep Clay City within 44-37 heading to the fourth period.
"She can hit it," said Jones of Farmer. "Teams are quickly finding out that they can't leave her."
In the final quarter, the Eels started with a 10-5 run on baskets from Glass on an assist from Steiner, who added two free throws. Glass then followed with another post hoops, two of her 16-point effort to go with a game-high 13 rebounds.
Following a rebound basket from Stafford, Angie Camp scored four straight points, the final latter tally off a steal on coast-to-coast lay-in to get the Eels within 49-47.
But it was Meeks who made perhaps the pivotal shot of the game when she followed with a 3-pointer with 4:30 remaining to push the deficit back to five at 52-47.
From there, the Patriots' depth appeared to take over as Clay City had some late turnovers that helped propel a 10-0 run that effectively dashed the Eels hopes at an upset against the 13th-ranked Patriots.
Two points each from Farmer and Glass closed the gap to as few as eight down the stretch, but the Eels simply ran out of time.
Meeks had a game-high 21 points with Stafford adding 13 in the game while the Eels got double-figures from four different players.
Glass topped the scoring with 16 followed by 11 from Farmer and 10 apiece from Reed and Camp, who also had 10 rebounds.
"Our girls played hard," assessed Jones. "Mardi getting in foul trouble didn't help. But we were still up at the half. (Rivet) is a much better team than last year."
The Rivet JV team won 52-8.
The Eels fell to 4-3 overall while Rivet improves to 6-1 this season. Clay City will host Linton on Thursday night.
Vincennes Rivet (62)
Meeks 8-15 2-2 21, Sieviers 2-2 0-0 4, Stafford 6-7 1-1 13, Young 0-5 0-0 0, Niehaus 2-2 0-0 4, V.Brocksmith 1-8 0-3 3, C.Brocksmith 2-7 2-2 6, Montgomery 0-2 4-6 4, Wehrhiem 1-5 1-3 3. Totals: 20-54 10-17 62.
Clay City (53)
Glass 6-14 4-5 16, Reed 5-11 0-0 10, Steiner 0-4 2-2 2, Farmer 5-10 1-1 11, Camp 3-10 4-4 10, Targett 1-1 2-4 4. Totals: 20-50 13-16 53.
3-point fieldgoals -- VR 4-16 (Meeks 3-7, V.Brocksmith 1-3, C.Brocksmith 0-2, Young 0-4). Total Rebounds -- VR 24 (Several with three), CC 42 (Glass 13, Camp 10). Total Fouls -- VR 17, CC 13. Turnovers -- VR 9, CC 24.