BY CLAY CUNNINGHAM
CLAY CITY -- With the start of the season less than a week away, Clay City's boys' basketball team got its first taste of game action Saturday with a home scrimmage against Rockville.
Facing a team returning several key players from a sectional title run, the Eels played very competitively in three 10-minute quarters. Clay City outscored 10-6 in the first quarter of action, before falling in the final two periods 14-9 and 11-8 respectively. Senior Kyler Rhodes said he was pleased with certain aspects of the Eels' performance but said they left room for improvement.
"We had good moments and moments we need to work on," Rhodes said. "We made a few mistakes, mostly mental, that we need to build on as the year goes on."
Head coach Grant McVay said he thought it was a good building block for his team to face an in-state powerhouse like Rockville in preseason play.
"I think it was a great opportunity for us to go against one of the best teams in the state before games start," McVay said.
The Eels head into this season following a 2007-08 campaign that saw them finish 10-12. McVay said he thought a great deal of the team's potential success this season would come from player experience. Clay City is returning seven players from last season's team and McVay said that he thought that would help build solid team continuity.
"There's no replacing experience," McVay said. "These kids will be ready to play because they won't see a lot of things they haven't seen before."
With their first game action out of the way, McVay said his focus going into the season was game-by-game improvement.
"Right now our goal is to compete every night and improve throughout the season," McVay said. Obviously you'd like to win as much as possible, but I just want to make sure we are playing as well as we can."
The Eels' Junior Varsity squad also took to the court Saturday morning for two quarters of action. After a 13-2 thrashing in the first quarter, Clay City rebounded to take the second quarter 11-8.
Clay City will officially open their regular season on Wednesday with a home game against South Vermillion.