Times Sports Editor
EMINENCE -- Though the forecast may not have called for any precipitation on Saturday evening, the Clay City Eels had other ideas.
The Eels rained down 11 3-pointers on the road against Eminence on the way to an 85-60 Tri-River Conference victory.
Seven of those bombs came in a high-scoring first half for Clay City, which scored 45 points and hit seven-of-15 from beyond the arc.
Kyler Rhodes took charge right off the opening tip, knocking home three 3-pointers in the first quarter.
"Kyler was more assertive tonight," Eels' coach Grant McVay commented. "he got himself going and when they have to guard him it opens up other people."
The Eels were also strong in transition, forcing six turnovers in a 25-point first quarter and players were able to drive the basket and pass outside for wide open 3-pointers.
Jordan Defore scored five of his 10 points in the first quarter. Attacking the basket, Defore got to the line for three free throws and grabbed five of his game-high 14 boards.
"Credit our kids for taking of advantage of transition opportunities," McVay said. "You're not always going to get that many chances in a game."
Eminence found its own stroke from the perimeter in the second quarter as freshman Dawson Gore and sophomore Grant Shupe sank 3-pointers for the Eels.
Clay City still had more weapons to spare with senior Will Kennedy returning to the lineup for 15 points and Logan Higgins getting to the line for five, first half free throws on the way to 13 points.
Leading 45-31 at halftime, Clay City continued its hot shooting in the second half as Braxton Griffith hit one of his five 3-pointers to open the half. Rhodes followed with another and Higgins completed a three-point play for a 55-38 lead.
Higgins actually sparked possibly the deciding run with a score off a turnover and then a putback.
His personal seven-point run preceded a pair of free throws by Rhodes and a drive by Defore that capped an 11-0 run by the Eels for a 25-point advantage at 63-38.
Braxton Griffith hit a pair of shots from beyond the arc in the third quarter, the final one gave the Eels a 66-42 lead late in the third quarter.
Griffith had 17 points in the game with Rhodes leading the team with 18 for Clay City.
"I'm happy for Braxton and Kyler," McVay said. "When their both scoring it keeps defenses honest."
The lead grew to as much as 29 points after free throws from Defore and Kennedy along with two from Levi Seymour pushed the score to 80-51.
After the game, McVay pointed out that this needs to be a starting point for his veteran team.
"We need to build on this," McVay said. "(Eminence) has got a young team and we have to play with the same energy and purpose versus teams that have juniors and seniors."
In the JV game, Clay City got 11 points from Brylan Jones and 10 from Ben Denker, but Eminence came away with a 45-37 victory.
Mark Grubbs added six and Josh Decker had five for Clay City.
Clay City (2-2 overall, 1-1 TRC) is back in action on Tuesday night when they face Cloverdale at home beginning at 6 p.m.
Clay City (85)
Griffith 6-10 0-0 17, Seymour 0-0 2-2 2, Rhodes 5-12 3-6 18, Heffner 3-8 0-0 6, Defore 3-6 4-6 10, Kennedy 5-11 4-6 15, Higgins 3-7 7-9 13, Newton 2-6 0-0 4. Totals: 27-57 20-30 85.
Hudson 5-10 3-3 13, Kukman 5-9 2-6 12, Shupe 2-5 0-0 5, Marcum 3-9 1-3 8, Lawson 1-4 0-0 2, Gore 3-7 2-2 11, Wagner 1-5 0-0 3, Watkins 2-4 1-2 5. Totals: 21-53 10-17 60.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 11-22 (Griffith 5-7, Rhodes 5-9, Kennedy 1-3, Newton 0-3, Higgins 0-1, Defore 0-1). Total Rebounds -- CC 40 (Defore 14, Higgins 5), Em 31 (Lawson 6). Total Fouls -- CC 19, Em 24. Fouled out -- Em (Shupe). Turnovers -- CC 13, Em 21.