Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- Coming off a tough loss on the road to Class 4A Bloomington North on Monday night, the Clay City Eels found a little home cooking to their liking as the girls' basketball team evened its record at 1-1 with a 56-26 trouncing of visiting Eminence Friday night.
Early in the game, Clay City preyed on a team that is just as young with just one senior on the roster and six sophomores and four freshmen. The Eels pressed and trapped the visiting squad to forced 12 first quarter turnovers and turned it into an opening 13-0 burst and a 15-4 lead after the opening period.
"(Eminence) is fairly young and they had an All-State candidate last year in (Aulani) Sinclair and we thought we could pressure them and cause them some trouble and it worked out for us, Clay City coach Chris Ames said. "But we still have to talk on defense and communicate. We're not very big so we have to move as a unit."
Eminence got just two shots off from the field in the opening quarter, but Clay City's full court defense began to get them into some foul trouble as Brielle Drelick went to the bench with two fouls and later, Carmela Roeschlein sat with her second foul.
Eminence crept within 18-10 when Roeschlein went to the sidelines with six minutes in the first half, but Clay City didn't wilt under the pressure.
Allie Miller stepped up with some scoring along with Kelly McCullough and Madison Booe, who got some quality minutes in the first half.
Combined, the Eels were able to finish the second quarter strong and extend its advantage with a 10-3 run to close the half.
Ames was pleased with how several of his bench players came in and handled the pressure of a suddenly tight game.
"Really, at the end of the second quarter, our lead did expand and I was really pleased with how (the players off the bench) came out and played defense," Ames said. "I thought their defense picked it up and really did a better job because we went into a lull there. We started off well and then it got easy and we started reaching and got into foul trouble. But then (the bench players) came in and according to our stats, (Eminence) didn't score on about the last 12 possessions."
Coming out of the break, Clay City kept the intensity as Roeschlein knocked down a jumper for two of her game-high 16 points. Miller added a jumper followed by a bucket by Reed for a 35-13 Clay City lead. Eminence's Cheyanne Waller sank a 3-pointer to break a 6-0 Clay City burst, but the Eels kept their foot on the accelerator as Roeschlein scored on another jumper and a drive followed by a McCullough hoop that bumped the gap to 41-16.
"If you look at a game like this, we did win by 30, but Carmela had to sit and Brielle sat for awhile and that gave some other girls a chance to step up and that's what we want them to do to become better players," Ames said. "They have to handle the pressure in games later in the year for us."
In the fourth quarter, Ames emptied the bench and got some important minutes for a team that has just two seniors in Sloan Miller and McCullough. With no juniors on the roster, seven sophomores got plenty of time along with freshmen, Dayhuff and Booe.
Every one got into the act as Dayhuff and Booe scored back-to-back for a 52-22 Clay City lead and Michaela Riggs closed the Eels scoring with a fieldgoal.
"That was the fun thing tonight because we had probably nine girls score tonight and maybe it wasn't a lot, but when you have girls that maybe haven't had that chance before they did step up," Ames said.
What the Clay City coach focused on most is the energy that his bench players brought to the game as they scored 11 points, had 10 rebounds and had four steals.
"Callie (Dayhuff) played very well and she really competed even at Bloomington North and she's found her niche," Ames said. "When she plays hard all the time she's great and she did a fantastic job finishing around the basket at times. (Madison Booe) and Callie, our two freshmen who will see some playing time, have to just move their feet and not take chances, but they do want to get after it and earn their spots and both of them caused some turnovers and got on the floor after it and when your freshmen are doing that it should carry all the way through to your seniors."
McCullough and Allie Miller combined for 13 boards for Clay City with Miller scoring 10 points with two 3-pointers and McCullough chipping in with nine points. Booe led the bench scoring with six points.
The Eels are back in action on the road Tuesday night at Shakamak beginning at 6 p.m.
At Clay City
Clay City (56)
Roeschlein 6-8 2-4 16, Drelick 1-4 1-2 3, Reed 3-8 0-2 7, A.Miller 4-10 0-0 10, McCullough 4-8 1-2 9, Dayhuff 1-2 0-1 2, S.Miller 0-1 1-2 1, Milner 0-2 0-0 0, Booe 2-5 2-2 6, Riggs 1-2 0-0 2, Gossage 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-49 7-15 56.
Merrick 1-2 4-4 6, Feutz 0-2 4-8 4, Campbell 1-10 3-5 5, Hager 0-0 0-0 0, Waller 3-3 0-0 7, Rhea 0-0 0-0 0, Hostetler 0-1 0-0 0, Watson 0-2 0-0 0, Stierwalt 1-2 2-4 4, Stephens 0-0 0-0 0, Jobes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 6-22 13-21 26.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 5-7 (Roeschlein 2-3, A.Miller 2-2, Reed 1-2), Em 1-3 (Waller 1-1, Campbell 0-2). Total Rebounds -- CC 29 (A.Miller 7, McCullough 6), Em 17 (Several with two). Total Fouls -- CC 19, Em 12. Fouled out -- Em (Merrick). Turnovers -- CC 16, Em 30.
-- There was no JV game against Eminence.