For the Brazil Times
Clay CITY -- The Clay City Eels put together a defensive gem Friday night to give coach Grant McVay his 100th victory.
Clay City raised its record to 8-5 with a 50-42 victory and earned their third-straight win by holding Sullivan's inside duo of Thad Thompson and Rhett Smith to a combined 18 points and sharp-shooting guard Dalton Hiatt to three points.
Clay City's Will Kennedy, Levi Seymour, Jordan Defore and, coming off the bench, Logan Higgins shut down Sullivan's inside attack.
"I felt like our perimeter kids have been doing a really good job in our last few games, focusing on their job with regards to trying to take away a team's strength. This is the first time in a few games we've had that big of a test in the post," McVay said.
"I was really proud of the way our post players fought."
The 100th victory made coach McVay a little sentimental. As he remembered all the players and coaches that have gone through the Clay City program these last nine seasons.
"These kids this year have had to make some sacrifices to be a part of the last eight of those [wins]. There have been over 100 kids and so many coaches who have been a part of the first 92 [wins]," McVay said.
Sullivan coach Jeff Moore said the Clay City's experience was a big difference in the game. Sullivan committed 21 turnovers and Clay City made 11 steals in the game.
"You got to give Clay City a lot of credit. [They have] a lot of seniors there, who [have] played together a lot. They play hard defensively. That's the way we need our kids to play," Moore said.
On the perimeter, Clay City's Braxton Griffith won the battle with Sullivan's Hiatt.
Griffith scored 11 points and Hiatt three.
"Braxton did a great job. [Sullivan] was chasing him and he never quit chasing [Dalton] Hiatt. A lot of credit goes to Braxton," McVay said.
Defore picked up the slack for Clay City on the offensive end when Kennedy got into early foul trouble. Defore finished with 18 points, including 5-6 free throw shooting in the fourth quarter.
A driving lay up by Kennedy gave Clay City an 11-9 edge after one quarter of play. Kyler Rhodes, who had four steals in the game, converted a theft into a lay up to put the Eels up 19-18 at halftime.
Clay City's Griffith was the dagger in Sullivan's hopes all night.
With the Eels leading 28-23, Griffith hit a three-pointer from the baseline, was fouled and completed the four-point play to put Clay City ahead 32-23. The Eels went on to outscore the Arrows 15-8 in the third period and led 34-26 going into the fourth quarter.
Clay City ran one minute and 30 seconds off the clock early in the fourth quarter before Defore went right through the middle of Sullivan's defense for an uncontested lay up and 38-28 lead.
When Sullivan started fouling to get the ball, the Eels responded and hit enough free throws to hold on to their eighth win.
The Eels shot 40 percent (18-45) from the floor and 71 percent (10-14) at the free throw line.
Sullivan (42) -- R. Smith 3-9 2-4 8, Thompson 3-4 4-6 10, Bedwell 0-2 0-0 0, Hiatt 1-4 0-0 3, Boyd 4-7 0-0 10, Turner 0-0 0-0 0, J. Smith 1-4 1-2 3, Nash 3-6 0-0 8. Totals 15-36 FG, 7-12 FT, 42 TP.
Clay City (50)
Defore 5-6 7-8 18, Seymour 2-8 0-0 4, Kennedy 4-11 0-1 9, Rhodes 3-4 1-2 7, Griffith 4-10 1-1 11, Higgins 0-1 0-0 0, Heffner 0-4 1-2 1, Newton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-45 FG, 10-14 FT, 50 TP.
3Pt. Goals: SHS 5-9 (Boyd 2-2, Nash 2-3, Hiatt 1-1, J. Smith 0-1, Bedwell 0-2), CC 4-13 (Griffith 2-7, Defore 1-1, Kennedy 1-2, Seymour 0-1, Heffner 0-1, Newton 0-1). Total fouls: SHS 15, CC 14. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: SHS 21, CC 10. Rebounds: SHS 29 (Thompson 12, R. Smith 10), CC 23 (Seymour 5, Defore 5, Kennedy 4). Steals: SHS 3, CC 11 (Rhodes 4, Seymour 3).
JV game: Sullivan won 49-23.
Next game -- Sullivan (8-7) travels to White River Valley on Saturday. Clay City (8-5) plays at North Davies on Jan. 30.