Times Staff Reporter
CLAY CITY -- A sluggish second half by the Clay City boys' basketball team resulted a 56-45 defeat at the hands of a solid Vincennes Rivet team on Friday.
The Eels (2-3) used a 5-0 run at the end of the second quarter to go into the locker room with a 22-21 lead. Coach Grant McVay said his teams objective was to execute well in the paint and at the free throw line and felt his team accomplished each of those tasks swimmingly in the second half.
"Whoever wins points in the paint and at the free throw line is probably going to win," McVay said.
The coach's assessment proved to be accurate, as the two teams combined for an abysmal 2-31 from the three-point stripe.
The Eels were not able to carry over their first-half momentum into the third quarter, as they turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions, which helped kick start a 7-0 run by Rivet, helping them regain a lead they would never relinquish.
The Patriots, who improved to 5-1 on the season, were led by senior Tyler Vieke, who scored a game-high 22 points. Mitchell Bahr added 17, while Spencer Wirth pulled down eight rebounds. For Clay City, Jordan Defore led in scoring with 12, while Will Kennedy added 11 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
McVay said that one potential cause of the Eels' second-half letdown could have been a lack of practice time. The last time the team took the court in any capacity was for a Tuesday morning walkthrough for a game against Cloverdale, which was postponed due to adverse weather conditions. Seasonal hazards also caused the cancellation of practices on Wednesday and Thursday. Though he suggested the layoff could have been a reason for late game fatigue, McVay said he still felt his team should have been able to close strong Friday night.
"Was the lack of practice the reason for our fatigue? Maybe," McVay said. "But if we were able to take a one-point lead into the half, we should have been able to finish."
Though his team sits a game below .500, McVay expressed optimism that his team would be able to improve their play after returning from winter break in January.
"This group has reason to look forward to getting better," McVay said. "If we play to our potential, these kids could still have a lot of fun and a lot of success."
Clay City will return to the court on Jan. 2, when they take on Cascade in the South Putnam Tournament. In other action, the JV team struggled throughout and was handed a lopsided 53-30 defeat. Ben Denker led the Eels with 10 points, while Jake Tiefel added eight.
Vincennes Rivet (56)
K. Vieke 3 1-2 7, T Vieke 7 8-10 22, Wirth 0 2-2 2, Sievers 2 2-2 6, Bahr 6 4-5 14, Gartner 1 0-0 2
Clay City (45)
Griffith 1 4-4 6, Seymour 1 0-0 2, Higgins 2, 4-5 8, Kennedy 4, 2-4, 11, Rhodes 1 0-0 2, Heffner 1 2-2 4, Defore 5 2-4 12
3-point field goals--VR 1 (Bahr) CC 1 (Kennedy). Total Rebounds -- VR 29, CC 30.
Next game : Clay City travels to South Putnam for the first-round of South Putnam Tournament, when they take on Cascade.