Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- In a game that had been postponed twice before, it was only fitting that snow was falling prior to game time in the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference match-up between Clay City and Union.
The Bulldogs were undermanned, dressing just seven players for the varsity-only contest, but showed plenty of fight before succumbing to the Eels in a 45-28 decision.
With holiday break approaching, it looked as if Clay City's jump shot had already started vacation as the Eels hit just 18-of-53 (34 percent) from the field during the game. However, a quick 10-0 start to the game and a solid defense kept the Eels in front throughout the contest. The Bulldogs didn't score their first points of the game until a very long 3-pointer by Cheyenne Goodman went in with 50 seconds left in the opening period. By that point, Clay City had made good on several converted transition baskets by Carmela Roeschlein, Abby Reed and Brielle Drelick. However, the Eels' shooting went south in a hurry.
"We just didn't attack tonight and did a very poor job of attacking the basket," Clay City coach Chris Ames said. "I thought we did a good job early of looking up and got some easy transition baskets. After that, Union did a good job of defending us, we just couldn't hit shots. I thought we settled a little too much, we didn't have people cutting on the back-side and down the lane. That's just something we'll have to work on over Christmas break."
Leading 12-3 after one quarter, Union crept within 12-5 on free throws from Cali Hale and Goodman. At that point, the Eels went into a halfcourt trap after a pair of free throws from Allie Miller. The pressure forced back-to-back turnovers and lay-ups that extended the lead to 18-5. Credit Union however because the Bulldogs rallied back with six inside points by senior Shayna Nicol to get within 22-12 at the half.
"After we got off to a good start, I don't know if we took things for granted a little bit, we didn't fly around and that's something we've talked about," Ames said. "No matter what the score or who you are playing, that's something you have to do. I thought Dugger kept playing for 32 minutes. They kept scrapping and played us very hard."
In the third quarter, Roeschlein scored a pair of baskets around Union hoops by Goodman and Hale. A bucket by Nicol, who had a team-high 11 points, go Union within 26-18, but a 3-pointer and two free throws by Roeschlein extended the lead back to 31-18. A 3-pointer and quarter-ending bucket from Madison Booe capped a 10-2 run to end the period with the Eels ahead 36-19.
The Eels used their bench liberally late in the game, which is something that Ames felt was important heading into the holiday break.
"We're still trying to play a lot of players and see where we are at," Ames said. "It's early in the season still and it's a sectional opponent and we're trying to see what they have as well. We've got to see what our weaknesses are and we have Christmas break to keep working at it and we have a tournament at Eastern (Greene) against good competition. That's what it is about, trying to get better by February and tournament time.
Roeschlein added nine rebounds in the game and Abby Reed grabbed six rebounds to go with six points. Booe tallied six points and Miller contributed four in the win.
The Eels remain unbeaten at 4-0 in the SWIAC and are now 7-3 having won five-of-six games. Clay City opens play at the Eastern Greene Toby Yoho Classic on Dec. 28 against Bloomington North at 11:15 a.m.
At Clay City
Union (Dugger) (28)
Stanifer 1-7 0-0 2, Goodman 3-11 2-2 10, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Hale 2-5 1-4 5, Nicol 5-13 1-3 11, Horton 0-3 0-0 0, Kendall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 11-39 4-9 28.
Clay City (45)
Roeschlein 7-20 2-2 18, Drelick 5-13 0-0 10, Reed 3-5 0-0 6, Miller 1-7 2-2 4, Booe 2-8 1-2 6, Dayhuff 0-0 1-2 1, Wolfe 0-0 0-0 0, Gossage 0-0 0-0 0, Decker 0-0 0-0 0, Riggs 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-53 6-8 45.
3-point fieldgoals -- Un 2-11 (Goodman 2-5, Horton 0-2, Stanifer 0-2, Nicol 0-2), CC 3-11 (Roeschlein 2-6, Booe 1-3, Drelick 0-1, Miller 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Un 29 (Nicol 8), CC 33 (Roeschlein 9, Drelick 7, Reed 6). Total Fouls -- Un 9, CC 10. Fouled out -- Un (Horton). Turnovers -- Un 21, CC 9.