For the Brazil Times
CLOVERDALE -- It was too much excitement for a Tuesday night.
In a rare Tuesday night varsity boys' basketball game, Clay City picked up a 58-56 overtime win over Cloverdale.
It was an overtime the Eels were fortunate to even have, after watching a late lead slip away and seeing the Clovers miss two chances to win the game in regulation.
"We were very, very fortunate to be given a second-chance to get to overtime," Clay City coach Grant McVay said. "We are still a young team. I hope it was a learning experience and a confidence builder."
The Clovers' first chance came on a Brandon Moon free throw with 6.5 seconds remaining. After getting the rebound, the Eels got past half court and called a timeout.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Cloverdale senior Raine Young stole the ball and drove to his own hoop, only to miss the last-second layup.
In the overtime, the Eels leaned heavily on leading-scorer Will Kennedy, who scored four of the six points of the extra frame. Kennedy finished the night with 24 points.
The Clovers' number one option, by contrast, was on the bench. Senior Craig Blair had fouled out with 17 points about halfway through the fourth quarter.
Moon, who was 5-for-10 from three-point range, led the Clovers with 21 points.
But Blair's absence wasn't the only story line. The Eels turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, leading to the bulk of Cloverdale's points.
In the second half and overtime, they reduced that number to five, with none of those coming until very late in the fourth.
"We consciously tried to take care of the ball in the first half. Everything starts with taking care of the ball against Cloverdale. So much of their offense comes from getting in the passing lanes," McVay said. "We have good, coachable kids, but sometimes they get too passive. The kid that turned the game around for us was Orry Heffner," he continued. "He came in and decided he was going to the basket. He took a charge and also got a three-point play on a foul. That attitude was exactly what we needed and it gave us something at halftime to challenge the other guys with."
With the new attitude, the Eels began to crawl back into the game after trailing 30-26 at the half.
Being more aggressive with the ball, they stopped their turnovers altogether for more than a quarter and finally took a 46-45 lead, their first of the game, in the fourth quarter.
The only hiccup came in the last two minutes, as the turnover bug began to bite again. This allowed the Clovers to tie the game, but they never got over the hump.
"When you're passive against a team like this, that pressures the basketball, you're going to turn the ball over," McVay said. "You dictate to the defense in a late game situation, rather than the defense dictating to you. Hopefully it's a very good learning experience."
The Eels (4-1) travel to Vincennes Rivet at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Clay City (58)
Kennedy 10-17 3-9 24, Defore 4-9 5-6 13, Griffith 2-6 2-2 8, Heffner 2-6 2-4 6, Cook 0-5 4-4 4, Rhodes 1-2 1-2 4, Seymour 0-1 0-0 0.
Moon 7-17 2-3 21, Blair 6-13 5-5 17, Young 2-8 1-2 6, Glassburn 1-3 2-2 4, Randall 1-3 1-5 3, Hayden 1-1, 1-2 3, Dean 1-1 0-0 2.
Next game: Clay City travels to Vincennes Rivet at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.