By STEVE FIELDS
For the Brazil Times
BLOOMFIELD -- Hitting free throws and stopping Eastern Greene a couple of times in the fourth quarter would have changed everything that happened to the Clay City Eels in the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference boys basketball game.
But Eastern Greene's Sam Jacob hit a baseline lay up at the buzzer giving the Thunderbirds a 73-71 overtime win over the Eels. Clay City is now 1-2 in the SWIAC.
With 2.8 seconds left in the overtime period, Eastern had the ball out of bounds under its own basket. Clay City coach Grant McVay set the defense to prevent Eastern from lobbing the ball inside to 6-foot-7 Ben Arthur, who had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Instead, Eastern passed the ball to the backside of the defense and Jacob gave a head-fake and drove for the lay up.
"In all fairness (to our players) what was backside was actually about 15 feet out, and we bite on a shot fake. We really did not defend the actual play that badly,"? McVay said.
Clay City lost this game at the free throw line, hitting just 9-of-19 free throws.
"We're 10-19 from the line and if you hit free throws, especially with the majority of those being in the first half, you go in up eight or 10 points and it's a completely different ball game strategically with what you're looking to do,"? McVay said.
"And the bottom line is kids on both squads made several heroic plays, heroic efforts and I don't want to take anything away from that."
Clay City's Will Kennedy, who scored 29 points, banked in a three at the buzzer to send the game into overtime tied 61-61.
The Eels trailed 16-12 after the first quarter, but outscored the Thunderbirds 16-6 in the second period to lead 28-22 at halftime.
Kennedy put the Eels up 34-28 with three minutes left in the third quarter, but the Thunderbirds closed to within one, 37-36 head into the final eight minutes of regulation play.
This is where Clay City's defense broke down.
"At the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, (Eastern) scored on nine straight possessions and to end the fourth and through the overtime, (Eastern) scored on nine out of 11 possessions,"? McVay said.
Over the final 1:48 of regulation play neither team played much defense. The Eels, trailing 53-45, outscored Eastern 16-8 to send the game into overtime.
Clay City (71)
Defore 4-8 1-2 11, Seymour 2-2 4-4 8, Kennedy 12-20 2-2 29, Rhodes 0-2 0-0 0, Griffith 4-7 0-0 10, Higgins 0-0 2-5 2, Heffner 0-1 0-0 0, Payne 0-0 0-2 0, Cook 5-7 1-4 11. Totals 27-47 FG, 10-19 FT, 71 TP.
Eastern Greene (73)
McNeal 5-9 4-6 14, Sparks 6-7 1-2 15, Arthur 8-9 0-0 16, Gray 3-8 5-6 11, Russell 3-6 2-2 10, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Igel 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob 2-3 3-4 7. Totals 27-43 FG, 15-20 FT, 73 TP.
3-Pt. Goals: CC 7-14 (Kennedy 3-5, Defore 2-3, Griffith 2-4, Rhodes 0-2), EG 4-6 (Sparks 2-3, Russell 2-3). Total fouls: CC 22, EG 19. Fouled out: Russell. Turnovers: CC 12, EG 19. Rebounds: CC 24 (Defore 7), EG 22 (Arthur). JV game: Eastern Greene won 30-16.
Next game: Clay City (8-4, 1-2 in SWIAC) plays at Sullivan Jan. 18 and Eastern Greene (3-9, 1-1 in SWIAC) travels to Linton on Jan 15.