Times Sports Editor
SWITZ CITY -- The Clay City Eels trapped and ran their way to a berth in Saturday's fifth-place game against North Central after pressuring Linton all the way in a 63-49 Eels' win in the Greene County Tourney.
The teams nearly played to a first quarter stalemate as Linton's Jordan Tharp hit his first four shots of the game, all within a few feet of the basket. The Eels got a pair of 3-pointers from Braxton Griffith and five points off the bench from Will Kennedy as Clay City led 17-16.
The Eels used the second quarter to tighten up its halfcourt trap against the Miners, which forced six turnovers in the period. Clay City used the turnovers to push the ball up the floor and beat the Miners to the hoop for high percentage opportunities.
The plan worked well as Clay City hit nine-of-15 field goals in the second quarter while pushing out to a 39-23 lead at the halfway point.
"We were able to force (Linton) to make decisions that they wouldn't normally make," said Eels' coach Grant McVay of the Miners' turnovers. "They took some hurried shots."
Mostly in transition and with some excellent interior passing from teammates, Kennedy and Logan Higgins each went a perfect three-of-three from the field in the quarter and the Eels outrebouned the Miners 9-2.
Clay City came out just as focused early in the second half as Levi Seymour completed back-to-back three-point plays, finishing in traffic.
Seymour contributed nine points in the game and the Eels jumped to a 45-25 lead early in the third quarter.
Jordan Defore, who also came off the bench, posted three of his points in the quarter to go with seven rebounds in the game.
The Eels' lead grew to 57-33 to end the third quarter as D.J. Newton picked a Miners' pocket at midcourt and raced in for a lay-up as part of a five-point game.
Clay City was a bit sloppy in the second portion of the third quarter and fourth period, turning the ball over 16 times after committing just three in the first half.
Linton used a few of those turnovers late to make the final margin closer than it might have been, outscoring the Eels 16-6 in the fourth period.
Will Kennedy led the Eels with 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench with Braxton Griffith posting 10 points and Higgins adding eight. Orry Heffner tallied six with Defore scoring seven.
The Eels (5-4 overall) face North Central on Saturday afternoon at 11:30 p.m.
Greene County Tourney
At White River Valley
Clay City (63)
Griffith 3-12 1-2 10, Seymour 3-5 3-4 9, Higgins 4-7 0-0 8, Rhodes 1-2 0-0 2, Heffner 3-5 0-0 6, Kennedy 6-13 4-7 16, Defore 3-6 1-2 7, Newton 2-4 0-0 5, Logan Fry 0-1 0-0 0, Denker 0-0 0-0 0, Decker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-55 9-1 63.
Cunningham 0-4 0-0 0, Magni 3-6 4-5 11, Gentry 1-2 1-2 3, Rhoten 1-6 7-8 10, Tharp 4-10 0-1 8, Stupy 4-5 0-0 9, Tibbett 2-4 0-0 4, Scott 0-0 0-0 0, Fish 0-2 0-2 0, Passen 2-3 0-3 4, Franklin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-43 12-21 49.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 4-15 (Griffith 3-8, Kennedy 0-2, Newton 1-3, Higgins 0-2), Ln 3-13 (Magni 1-3, Rhoten 1-3, Cunningham 0-3, Stuppy 1-2, Tharp 0-1, Coleman 0-1). Total Rebounds -- CC 35 (Kennedy 11, Defore 7), Ln 27 (Tharp 7). Total Fouls -- CC 15, Ln 13. Turnovers -- CC 19, Ln 19.