Clay City's Logan Higgins was sharp in transition, knocking home six points before he left after turning his ankle. He wouldn't return the rest of the way and his loss could have easily sidelined the inexperienced Eels. When Newton went to the sideline with his third foul after his sixth-point in the second quarter, Clay City could have been in trouble.
Perhaps the key to the game was the Clay City bench players who came in and scored 17 points, led by Tyler Jenkins' 12.
"We've had Logan and (D.J.) Newton do things for us early so tonight, for Tyler Jenkins to hit some shots in the first half when Logan went down was big," Edmondson said. "Tyler Bridgewater was huge all night so it was nice to see those guys step up and have a good game."
Bridgewater was big indeed, battling the sizable Watkins in the paint and holding him to just two points after the first quarter. The Clay City junior scored eight of his 18 points in the second quarter and pulled in 11 rebounds in the game to go with his defensive effort.
Edmondson credited Bridgewater for his work against Watkins and getting him into foul trouble.
"We wanted to go at (Watkins) and make him play some defense," Edmondson said. "The kid, I think had a game earlier in the year where he had 16 rebounds so we talked about keeping him off the boards. We knew that we had to keep (Dawson) Gore and (Ronnie) Marcum out of (the game). So for (Watkins), Tyler Bridgewater just had to hold his own inside and we did that."
In the second half, the game remained close as Newton knocked home a 3-pointer for Clay City to answer a jumper by Ford and a three-point play by Gore, who had 11 for Eminence. Newton scored for Clay City to answer another bomb by Gore and Jenkins sank two free throws. Grant Shupe followed with a hoop for Eminence, but Moore hit a buzzer beating lay-in for Clay City to give the Eels a 58-50 lead heading into the fourth quarter dramatics.
All told for Clay City, four different Clay City players hit double-figure scoring with Moore adding 11 points to go with nine rebounds, six in the fourth period.
The win by Clay City was its ninth-straight against Eminence, dating all the way back to the 2000-01 season.
The Clay City JV team dropped a 55-46 decision despite 13 points from Jake Tiefel, 11 from Kole Smith and six apiece from Josh Decker and Colton Dyer.
Clay City (3-1 overall, 2-0 TRC) travels to Cloverdale on Tuesday night.
At Clay City
Gore 4-14 1-2 11, Shupe 5-7 7-8 17, Marcum 3-9 0-0 8, Ford 6-7 4-7 18, Watkins 3-3 0-2 6, C.Goss 0-1 0-0 0, Szaly 3-4 1-2 7, Feutz 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 24-46 13-21 67.
Clay City (76)
Newton 6-11 4-6 17, Denker 2-5 1-3 7, Higgins 3-4 0-0 6, Bridgewater 5-9 8-12 18, Moore 3-9 4-9 11, Decker 1-2 1-3 3, Jenkins 3-7 4-5 12, Tiefel 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 22-46 23-41 76.
3-point fieldgoals -- Em 6-15 (Gore 2-7, Marcum 2-5, Ford 2-2, Shupe 0-1), CC 6-16 (Newton 1-5, Denker 2-3, Jenkins 2-5, Moore 1-2, Bridgewater 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Em 23 (Watkins 5, Marcum 5), CC 33 (Bridgewater 11, Moore 9). Total Fouls -- Em 31, CC 19. Fouled out -- Em (Szaly, Watkins, Ford), CC (Bridgewater, Tiefel). Turnovers -- Em 14, CC 11.