Times Staff Reporter
Clay City girls basketball overcame early offensive struggles to advance to the final round of play in the Eagles Holiday Classic, with a 44-35 win over tournament host South Putnam.
In what proved to be a sloppy, turnover filled contest, the Eagles jumped out to a lead early, aided by nine Clay City turnovers in the first quarter. The Eels fought back however, and took a 17-16 lead into the locker room.
The game stayed very tight until the fourth quarter when the Eels (6-5) combined tenacious defense, effectively managed offense and solid free throw shooting to put the Eagles away. All told, South Putnam turned the ball over 27 times.
Leading the charge for the Eels was Carmela Roeschlein, who led all scorers and rebounders with 26 and seven respectively. Roeschlein's greatest achievements came at the foul line, where she went at an impressive 13-16 clip.
Eels coach Chris Ames said he wasn't happy with the ugly start, but was thrilled with the way his team responded.
"We came out and we weren't ready to play," Ames said. "But once we got going, we carried our game plan and I was happy with what I saw."
South Putnam (2-9) was led by Emily Dabkowski, who was the team's only double-digit scorer with 11. Brooke Boetjer led the Eagles in rebounding with six.
Despite the numerous turnovers, Eagle coach Debbie Steffy said she was pleased with her teams' effort.
"I thought we played really well," Steffy said. "There were a few minutes where they put a lot of pressure on us and we struggled with it, but for the most part I think we played a pretty good game."
Despite being seven games under .500, Steffy stressed she is seeing improvements from her girls on a regular basis.
"We seem to not be able to carry things over from one game to the next," Steffy said. "We will do something well one game, then struggle with it the next. But we're getting better and we will continue to work towards showing improvement."
Ames said his club also struggled with consistency, but he too believed they were moving in the right direction as postseason play creeps ever closer.
"We're taking baby steps," Ames said. "We still need to make progress, but I'm seeing all eleven girls do good things out there. We just need to do them more often."
Eagle Holiday Classic
At South Putnam
Clay City (44)
Roeschlein 5 13-16 26, Drelick 3 2-7 8, Reed 0 2-2 2, Booe 2 0-0 4, Riggs 2 0-0 4. Totals: 12 17-25 44.
South Putnam (35)
Minor 2 0-0 4, Dabkowski 4 3-3 11, Jes. Thompson 1 1-2 3, Jen. Thompson 2 2-2 6 Searles 2 0-1 4, Jones 0 1-2 1, Boetjer 3 0-0 6, Masters 0 0-2 0. Totals: 14 7-12 35.
3-point field goals -- CC 3-7 (Roeschlein 3-5, Miller 0-1, Booe 0-1), SP 0-5 (Jes. Thompson 0-2, Jen. Thompson 0-3). Total Rebounds -- CC 18 (Roeschlein 7, McCullough 4), SP 24 (Boetjer 6, Searles 5). Team Fouls -- CC 14, SP 21. Turnovers -- CC 21, SP 27.