Times Sports Editor
SWITZ CITY -- When you get to the free throw line as often as Clay City senior guard Carmela Roeschlein, there is a premium to knocking them down. The 5'5 dynamo shot nearly 200 of them last season and hit 79 percent of those shots. However, she would be the first to say that she's struggled some from the line this year.
On Monday night, Roeschlein didn't miss any of the 12 charity tosses that she took.
She didn't miss much of anything all night.
Roeschlein poured in a career-high 52 points on 18-of-24 shooting from the field, including a 12-for-12 effort from the line as she tied the 11th highest girls' single-game regular season scoring total in state history as the Eels topped WRV 86-53. Roeschlein also provided seven boards in the victory.
When asked about when she started to feel the game coming to her, she admitted that it all started at the free throw line.
"When I hit my free throws," Roeschlein said of when she began to feel confident. "I've kind of been in a slump with my free throws so when I started hitting those, I felt like it was going to be a pretty good night. We shoot a ton in practice. The girls set great screens getting me open. Without my team I couldn't score they way I do. They are great, I wouldn't play with anyone else. It was a lot of fun, but thanks to my teammates, I couldn't have done it without them."
The much improved Wolverines provided a very game opponent for much of the contest, whittling a 49-26 deficit in the third quarter down to 54-41 as junior J'Lynn Borter knocked down her second 3-pointer moments after a tri-fecta from Maddy Dyer and two free throws from Allison Wininger. The 8-0 run narrowed the lead to 54-41 late in the period.
Roeschlein answered that rush with what she does best, driving hard to the basket, scoring and completing one of her six old fashioned three-point plays in the game.
"She really got to the basket well tonight. She got some confidence," Eels coach Chris Ames said. She struggled a little bit on foul shooting this year and she got to the line early and I think that gave her some confidence. I think she'll tell you the same thing, her teammates, we ran a lot of different things, and she got it going, her teammates were really looking for her. It's one thing that we really preach, always being a good teammate. They looked for her and got her some good screens, gave her the basketball and she finished really well at the rim tonight."
Trailing 59-45 after a jumper from WRV senior Marissa Miller, the Wolverines got a heavy dose of the Eels down the stretch.
Roeschlein battled to the rim and scored a three-point play and Brielle Drelick, who had 13 points and eight rebounds, nailed a free throw. Roeschlein slashed to the rim for another three-point trip and added two free throws and a 3-pointer in a 12-1 Eels run that pushed the lead to 71-46.
Down the stretch, Michaela Riggs hit for a pair of hoops in the paint as Ames noted that Roeschlein wasn't the only Clay City player to play strong around the basket.
"We had a lot of girls finish around the rim tonight. Michaela Riggs came in there at the end, Allie Miller finished. Any time we wanted to attack (WRV), we are a little bigger than they are, we tried to get to the rim some. That's something we've been working on because we haven't done a very good job this year doing that."
Miller started the Eels off strong in the first quarter with a pair of hoops off nice assists from her teammates and both Abby Reed and Madison Booe helped spark the defense a total of 20 Wolverine turnovers.
Roeschlein was hot from the beginning, finishing the first half with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and hit all five free throws, but she really started to heat up in a 12-point third quarter.
Miller scored off a nice feed from Reed, but WRV kept battling after a 3-pointer from Roeschlein. Briauna George responded with a score off an offensive rebound as WRV put together a hot shooting quarter (8-of-14) from the field to stay close.
However, Roeschlein was able to stay hot as well, hitting 11-of-15 shots in the second half.
Afterwards, Ames was complimentary of a WRV squad that is on the upswing having already tied last year's season mark for wins.
"A.J. (Graves) does a great job," Ames said of the Wolverines' second-year head coach. "They remind me a little bit of us. They are very athletic and quick, they all handle the ball and they have good shooters. They are headed in the right direction. They are going to be a scary out come tournament time. They can do a lot of good things with the basketball."
In the junior varsity contest, White River Valley hit its free throws in the fourth quarter in gaining a 31-28 victory despite finishing the contest with just four players on the floor. Limited numbers and a player that fouled out left WRV one player down the final 1:30, but the Wolverines prevailed despite 10 points each from Clay City's Logan Ellinger and Alex Wolfe. Kylee Truax added four.
The Class A sixth-ranked Eels (4-1 overall, 2-0 SWIAC) host No. 13 Riverton Parke on Thursday night.
At White River Valley
Clay City (86)
Roeschlein 18-24 12-12 52, Drelick 3-8 7-9 13, Reed 1-3 3-4 5, Miller 3-4 1-4 7, Booe 0-2 1-2 1, Dayhuff 0-0 0-0 0, Wolfe 0-0 0-0 0, Riggs 3-3 0-0 6, Decker 0-0 0-0 0, Ellinger 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 28-44 24-31 86.
George 1-4 0-1 2, M.Miller 1-6 1-4 3, L.Miller 0-4 0-0 0, Dyer 4-6 3-6 12, Resler 3-4 2-3 8, Borter 5-11 1-4 13, Ragle 0-2 0-0 0, Hockman 0-0 1-2 1, Wininger 4-11 6-6 14. Totals: 18-48 14-26 53.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 4-12 (Roeschlein 4-8, Drelick 0-2, Miller 0-1, Booe 0-1), WRV 3-14 (Borter 2-3, Wininger 0-6, Ragle 0-2, L.Miller 0-2, Dyer 1-1). Total Rebounds -- CC 27 (Drelick 8, Roeschlein 7, Miller 3), WRV 26 (Dyer 7, Wininger 6). Team Rebounds -- CC none, WRV 4. Total Fouls -- CC 22, WRV 22. Fouled out -- CC (Roeschlein). Turnovers -- CC 17, WRV 20.