Times Sports Editor
SWITZ CITY -- If the Clay City Eels could duplicate their first half results in the second half against Class A 11th-ranked Vincennes Rivet, the Eels could be two wins richer.
Alas, the second half of the Eels' Greene County Tourney opener went much like the Dec. 19 meeting when the Patriots outscored Clay City 35-13 in the second half of a 56-45 win.
In Wednesday's contest, Clay City trailed just 26-24 at halftime, but was outscored 33-16 after the break to fall 59-40.
"They're not seven or eight-and-1 (actually 7-1) because they aren't good," said Clay City coach Grant McVay of Vincennes Rivet.
The Eels went toe-to-toe with the Patriots over the opening two quarters, getting five first half points from Kyler Rhodes, Will Kennedy and Braxton Griffith. Clay City held a narrow lead at several points in the first half before a late 3-pointer gave the Patriots a two-point lead at the break.
"The kids came out tonight and competed in the first half, we had some breakdowns, but we clawed back in it," McVay said. "We have up a '3' in our last possession of the first half and fell behind."
The Eels remained close in the third quarter as Griffith scored to open the half before Kendall Vieke knocked home a 3-pointer for the Patriots. Griffith followed with a jumper and the Eels' Jordan Defore knocked home a 3-pointer from the corner to tie the score at 31-apiece.
From there however, Rivet began to assert themselves on both ends of the court.
The Patriots got a 3-pointer from Mitchell Bahr a score from Tyler Vieke and a bucket from Spencer Wirth for a 38-31 lead. Logan Higgins got the Eels within 38-33, but a rebound and put back basket by Bahr at the buzzer pushed the lead back to 40-33.
Rivet continued to limit the Eels opportunities in the fourth quarter, clogging the paint and closing out quickly on the perimeter to limit the Eels bread and butter, the perimeter shot.
Clay City had hit 12-of-23 (52 percent) from 3-point range the past two games, each victories. However, the Patriots held the Eels to four-of-18 (22 percent) in Wednesday's contest.
The Eels committed six of their 17 turnovers in the fourth quarter and the Patriots hit six-of-eight from the field and seven-of-10 from the free throw line.
Rivet outscored the Eels 12-0 and 19-4 during a stretch bridging the third and fourth quarters to put the game away.
"We hit little spurts where we missed shots and we needed to make better decisions," McVay said. "We've got to hit some shots. We go forever without scoring. (Rivet) did a good job rebounding. But I thought (Levi) Seymour's efforts on the offensive glass was good."
Clay City hit just 35 percent (16-of-46) from the field in the game while Rivet hit 52 percent (22-of-42) while outrebounding the Eels 31 to 20.
Griffith and Orry Heffner topped Clay City with nine points apiece while Kendall Vieke had 18 points to lead the Patriots with Bahr adding 14.
"When you face this type of schedule (potentially five games in nine days), you have to take advantage of it and get better," McVay said.
The Eels return to action this evening in a losers' bracket game at 7:30 p.m. at White River Valley High School.
Greene County Tourney
At White River Valley
Clay City (40)
Griffith 3-11 2-2 9, Seymour 2-3 0-0 4, Kennedy 2-9 1-3 5, Rhodes 2-7 0-0 5, Defore 1-4 0-0 3, Newton 0-2 0-0, Higgins 2-5 0-0 5, Heffner 4-5 1-1 9, Denker 0-0 0-0 0, Fry 0-0 0-0 0, Decker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-46 4-6 40.
Vincennes Rivet (59)
K.Vieke 5-11 5-5 18, T.Vieke 6-12 0-0 12, Wirth 1-3 1-3 3, Bahr 5-10 2-2 14, Gartner 3-4 1-1 7, Schleicher 0-0 0-0 0, Sievers 1-1 1-2 3, Halter 0-0 0-0 0, Wallage 1-1 0-0 2, Brasseur 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Mozier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-42 10-13 59.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 4-18 (Griffith 1-7, Defore 1-3, Higgins 1-2, Kennedy 0-3, Rhodes 1-2, Newton 0-1), VR 5-15 (Bahr 2-4, K.Vieke 3-7, T.Vieke 0-4). Total Rebounds -- CC 20 (Seymour 6, Kennedy 6), VR 31 (Bahr 11, Wirth 7). Total Fouls -- CC 16, VR 10. Fouled out -- CC (Defore). Turnovers -- CC 17, VR 16.