Times Sports Editor
CLINTON -- As far as head coaching debuts go, new Clay City basketball coach, Vance Edmondson is likely looking forward to his second game at the helm following a 61-46 loss to South Vermillion on Wednesday evening.
The Wildcats, fresh off one of the best football seasons in school history, brought an experienced and athletic squad to the floor against an Eels team that returned just two players with any appreciable varsity time and South Vermillion took advantage with their physical edge.
(South Vermillion) is all juniors and seniors on the roster and we may look old on the roster, but we have two guys back from last year that have any sort of varsity experience," Edmondson said. "So we're learning, new coach, basically five new guys with the two returners from last year so I told them that I just want us to get better. Experience will come as we go throughout the year."
The first quarter was an offensive shootout as both sides' defenses tried to adjust to the opposing, attacking styles. The Wildcats got 12 first quarter points from senior Andy Walsh, who led the team to 23 points in the period. South Vermillion slashed to the hoop, attacking the rim to the turn of a 10-of-14 shooting performance from the field. The Eels weren't too bad themselves, hitting seven-of-12 in the period and trailed just 23-18.
"Offensively I was pretty pleased with how we played tonight," Edmondson said of his Eels. "There were times that we took some ill-advised shots and were forcing things, but give South Vermillion credit, they are a good, solid team. Coach (Rodney) Idlewine has them playing well right now."
The second half was more of the same as Clay City wasn't able to maintain a consistent offensive push and the Wildcats dominated the boards with a 22-10 edge in the final two quarters. Keeping the Eels off the offensive glass, South Vermillion got a pair of free throws from Walsh and a fieldgoal sandwiched around a score by Laswell in a six-point run for a 44-29 advantage. Mumaw added a late 3-pointer and Walsh scored off an offensive rebound to push the gap to 49-32 after three periods.
Clay City got a steal and a lay-in from Logan Higgins, who had seven points for the Eels and D.J. Newton knocked home his fourth 3-pointer in the game. However, the Wildcats hit a pair of free throws and Patrick Harpenau became a fourth quarter presence, scoring off a rebound and another hoop as part of a six-point, five-rebound fourth quarter. All told, South Vermillion had a 36-21 advantage on the boards, which wasn't completely surprising to Edmondson.
Matt Moore knocked home a 3-pointer and followed with a hoop to get the Eels within 57-42 before scores by Josh Decker and Tyler Jenkins wrapped up the game's scoring.
In the JV game, South Vermillion rolled to a 37-26 victory.
The Eels will be back in action Dec. 4 with a home game against Union (Dugger) beginning at 6 p.m.
At South Vermillion
Clay City (46)
Newton 4-7 0-0 12, Denker 1-6 0-0 2, Higgins 2-11 3-7 7, Bridgewater 4-9 1-2 10, Moore 3-6 1-2 8, Jenkins 2-6 0-0 5, Decker 1-1 0-0 2, Tiefel 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-46 5-11 46.
Laswell 2-5 0-1 5, Walsh 8-12 7-9 24, Mumaw 4-8 0-0 11, Harpenau 6-9 0-0 12, Hastings 0-1 0-0 0, Reyher 2-3 0-0 4, Scott 0-3 0-0 0, Craigmyle 2-2 1-4 5. Totals: 24-43 8-15 61.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 7-18 (Newton 4-7, Bridgewater 1-5, Jenkins 1-2, Moore 1-1, Denker 0-3), SV 5-12 (Laswell 1-2, Walsh 1-2, Mumaw 3-6, Harpenau 0-1, Reyher 0-1). Total Rebounds -- CC 21 (Higgins 8, Bridgewater 6), SV 36 (Harpenau 7, Laswell 6). Total Fouls -- CC 14, SV 14. Turnovers -- CC 13, SV 16.