By MATT MCKINNEY
Times Staff Reporter
CLAY CITY -- The Clay City boys' varsity basketball team fought hard Thursday night against a young North Central squad to get its much needed fifth win of the season, 64-51.
The first quarter was a tight battle throughout, with neither team holding more than a three-point lead at any time. The Thunderbirds took a 15-13 lead into the second quarter off a buzzer-beating lay-up by junior Tyler Strain.
The Eels were able to keep the score close in the second period partially due to senior Justin Rodgers.
Rodgers scored seven of his 13 total points in the quarter, including consecutive three-pointers to open the period.
Clay City moved the ball well against North Central Thursday, as six players scored in the first half alone.
"We talked a lot about that," Eels' head coach Vance Edmondson said. "For us to be successful, we need four guys in double-digits and we had that tonight. That's what we have to do to win, and we did it tonight. I'm proud of them."
The Eels went into halftime with a 26-all tie in their hands.
The third quarter was similar to the first two for both teams. The lead constantly changed sides as both teams alternated scoring throughout the period. However, Clay City ended on a high note as Ben Denker scored two points with ten seconds left to give the Eels a 40-39 lead going into the game's final quarter.
Denker finished the game with a team-high 17 points.
Clay City rode that momentum into the fourth period, scoring ten straight points to extend its lead to the biggest of the game, 50-39.
The remainder of the contest was a great team defensive effort by the Eels, allowing just ten points in the final five minutes to hold on to the win.
"We came back in the second half, hunkered down on defense, got some stops," Edmondson said. "Had some good ball movement on the offensive end and I was pleased with the second half."
The Eels' junior varsity also won Thursday evening, 30-26.
Senior Tyler Bridgewater scored 13 points. His classmate Josh Decker added to the total with 12 of his own. Junior Jake Tiefel contributed to the Eels with seven points. Finally, junior Tyler Allen finished with two points in the win.
Clay City's next match-up is Feb. 15, at Linton at 6 p.m.
At Clay City
Clay City (64)
Denker 5-14 5-6 17, Decker 5-8 0-0 12, Rodgers 5-12 1-3 13, Tiefel 2-6 2-2 7, Bridgewater 6-11 1-2 13, Allen 0-3 2-2 2. Totals: 23-42 11-15 64.
North Central (51)
C. Strain 3-9 1-2 10, S. Vanschoyck 3-8 0-0 9, T. Strain 4-8 1-2 9, Cox 1-3 2-2 5, Bellgraph 5-7 3-4 13, Lebeda 0-1 0-0 0, Stone 2-4 1-1 5. Totals: 18-40 7-19 51.
3-point field goals -- CC 7-22 (Denker 2-7, Decker 2-4, Rodgers 2-6, Tiefel 1-2, Bridgewater 0-3), NC 7-13 (C. Strain 3-4, Vanschoyck 3-8, Cox 1-1). Total Rebounds -- CC 28 (Decker 5, Rodgers 5, Allen 6), NC 24 (T. Strain 4, Stone 7). Total Fouls -- CC 13, NC 16. Total Turnovers -- CC 11, NC 19.