CLOVERDALE -- The Clay City seventh-grade boy's basketball team completed a thrilling tournament run in Cloverdale over the weekend to claim the championship title with a 37-36 win over Monrovia on Saturday.
The Eels opened the day with a match-up against the homestanding Clovers and used outstanding defensive pressure to hold Cloverdale to just four points in the first quarter on the way to a 40-29 victory.
Noah Denker tallied 12 points to lead the way and Landon Swearingen added 11 as the Eels advanced to the title game.
Facing the Bulldogs in the final, both squads showed early on that the game was going to go to the wire. The teams were even after the first period and the Eels held a tentative, three-point lead at the halftime break.
The Eels were able to build their biggest lead of the game going into the fourth quarter, but Monrovia wasn't going to go away quietly.
Defense kept Clay City ahead into the final minute with a one-point advantage with 12.7 seconds remaining. However, Monrovia inbounded the ball and crossed the mid-court line under nine seconds and drilled a 3-point shot to take the lead.
With the outcome in doubt, Clay City's Hunter Wolfe and Swearingen got the ball inbounds and found Denker, who crossed the halfcourt line. Needing a 3-pointer to claim the victory, Denker launched the ball from near halfcourt with 1.2 seconds on the clock and banked home the game-winner to give the Eels the championship trophy.
Denker led the scoring with 13 points followed by Krider Selsam's 11 points.
The team had the pleasure of cutting down the nets surrounded by an overwhelmed fan base as the Eels improved to 10-2 overall this season.
Clay City plays at home on Thursday night against Carlisle.