Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- The visiting White River Valley Wolverines are coming off a two-win season and had to replace three starters from the last time they faced Clay City. However, WRV has come a long way under first-year head coach and former Wolverine and Butler star, A.J. Graves.
Clay City got out to a 15-4 lead after one quarter of play, but WRV hung tough until the Eels were able to pull away late in a 46-25 SWIAC battle on Monday night.
"It's a nice conference win," Clay City coach Chris Ames said. "I was real impressed with WRV, they were very scrappy from the tip tonight. They really gave us trouble and outscored us in the second quarter. Our girls didn't handle the ball the way I wish we could. We had too many turnovers at halftime, we just kept turning the ball over. When we could get a good shot we were okay, but getting a shot up was very difficult."
The Wolverines were outscored by 26 points a game last season, but have already picked up a pair of wins and gave the Eels plenty of trouble in the second quarter. However, Clay City's Brielle Drelick hit all four of her fieldgoal attempts in the first quarter and Carmela Roeschlein added a pair of three-point plays to give the Eels an 11-point lead after eight minutes.
After WRV had settled down some after turning the ball over seven times in the first period, the Wolverines began to chip away at Clay City's lead as sophomore guard Maddy Dyer scored six of her seven points, including a three-point play of her own. Meanwhile, the Eels were held to just three-of-13 shooting from the field in the period. Freshman Briauna George-Fisher scored four of her six points and WRV crept within 27-17 at break as Drelick and Roeschlein continued to be the Eels only real offense.
The pair combined for 23 of the team's 27 points in the first half.
Clay City did a good job of swinging the ball around perimeter looking for open looks, but the Eels often passed up some of those shots, which Ames noticed.
Neither team got much going offensively in the third period with Madison Booe's 3-pointer for the Eels, the first score by either team at the 3:30 mark to push the lead to 30-17. Marisa Miller added a free throw for WRV, but that was the only point of the quarter for the Wolverines.
Allie Miller added a baseline jumper for Clay City, but that was the extent of the Eels' scoring, just five points as they were unable to take advantage of an 0-for-7 shooting performance from WRV.
"It's been frustrating," Ames said of the offensive lull. "It's the end of November, but we still have December and January to get better and that's what we're going to do."
What was positive for the Eels was that the team held WRV to just 20 percent (seven-of-35) shooting for the game and the Wolverines helped the Eels by hitting just 10-of-23 from the line.
"(WRV) plays a lot of young kids and I'm sure it's a new system, but we just wanted to move our feet and prove to ourselves that we could move our feet and play defense a little bit better," Ames said. "I thought that was a highlight of the second half, we did move our feet and (WRV) didn't get a lot of open looks."
Meanwhile, Roeschlein hit all 10 of her free throws for Clay City on her way to 14 points as Drelick hit six-of-12 from the field for 13 total points.
Clay City pulled away in the final quarter as Roeschlein added a pair of free throws and Miller knocked down one of her two, 3-pointers in the quarter. The Eels ran off an 8-1 run before George-Fisher hit a pair of free throws with 3:59 remaining. At that point, Clay City had built a 40-21 lead, Miller followed with her second, long-range bomb, Michaela Riggs added a bucket for the Eels to extend the gap to 46-22 and Amy Ragle hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for WRV.
The Eels' junior varsity dropped a 22-19 decision to fall to 3-2 overall. Danielle Gossage tallied 10 points and Alex Wolfe, who had quality varsity minutes for the Eels, scored four.
The Eels (3-2 overall, 2-0 SWIAC) travel to Riverton Parke on Thursday evening at 6 p.m.
At Clay City
White River Valley (25)
Lemmons 0-1 0-2 0, M.Miller 2-13 1-3 5, L.Miller 1-7 0-1 2, Dyer 2-8 3-3 7, Reshler 0-1 1-4 1, Brianua George-Fisher 1-2 4-6 6, Pearson 0-0 0-2 0, Ragler 1-2 1-2 4, Arnold 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 7-35 10-23 25.
Clay City (46)
Roeschlein 2-12 10-10 14, Drelick 6-12 0-0 13, Reed 0-1 1-1 1, Miller 3-8 0-0 8, Booe 1-6 0-0 3, Dayhuff 0-0 1-2 1, Gossage 1-4 0-0 2, Riggs 1-3 1-2 3, Wolfe 0-1 1-6 1, Decker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-47 14-21 46.
3-point fieldgoals -- WRV 1-7 (Ragle 1-1, M. Miller 0-4, Dyer 0-1, George-Fisher 0-1), CC 4-13 (Miller 2-3, Drelick 1-2, Booe 1-2, Roeschlein 0-5, Reed 0-1). Total Rebounds -- WRV 34 (Reschler 9, M. Miller 5), CC 32 (Drelick 4, Several with 3). Total Fouls -- WRV20, CC 17. Turnovers -- WRV 28, CC 18.