Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- In a battle between two of the area's top small school teams, Riverton Parke outmuscled Class A No. 6 Clay City on the Eels' home court Thursday night by a 50-32 score.
The Panthers pulled away with a dominating fourth quarter as Riverton Parke held the Eels to 1-of-7 shooting from the field to outscore Clay City 16-5 down the stretch for the victory.
Dynamic junior, Sarah Dickey, matched up on the defensive end with the Eels' Carmela Roeschlein and the Panther's four inch height advantage came in handy in altering passing angles and disrupting shots for the Eels. Dickey also came alive to spark her team in the second quarter with 10 of her game-high 18 points.
After Roeschlein had hit a pair of early 3-pointers to put the Eels ahead by an 8-2 score, the Panthers switched Dickey over to cover the Clay City senior. While Roeschlein still scored 14 points in the game, it was Dickey's overall play and the Panthers' physicality that gave Clay City problems.
Riverton Parke took a 23-16 lead into halftime off an offensive rebound and a score at the buzzer. That play was a microcosm of what led the Panthers to victory according to Eels' coach Chris Ames.
"We only had ourselves for four turnovers at halftime. In the second half, when you turn the ball over 12 times, play pretty sluggish, (Riverton Parke) was by far the aggressor. When you play a good team and you play back on your heels, and (the Panthers) had a lot to do with that, you are going to have a night like tonight," Ames said.
Clay City climbed within 23-18 to start the third period on a pair of free throws from Brielle Drelick, but the Panthers answered right back as Sheldan Falls was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws.
The turnover bug began to take effect in the third period as well as Clay City committed seven miscues. The Panthers were also exerting their will on the boards as well with junior Kori Wood finishing off a three-point play. An Eels' turnover fed Dickey for a lay-in and a 3-pointer from Sarah Burnham pushed the gap to 34-22.
With the Panthers within striking distance, the Eels were unable to mount a charge as Riverton Parke opened the quarter with a drive from Dickey and a Clay City turnover led to a 3-pointer from Kenzie Pollard that pretty much sealed the outcome.
Roeschlein got the Eels back to within 39-29 on a leaner in the paint, but Burnham scored on a lay-in and an offensive rebound led to her hitting a 3-pointer.
"It was embarrassing the way they pushed us around on the boards," Ames admitted.
A pair of free throws from junior Paige Yando capped a 12-2 run to complete the Panthers lopsided victory.
"Hopefully it makes you better," Ames said of the loss. "We knew going in that they are a very good team. They do a lot of good stuff. We just didn't bring enough energy to the game and (Riverton Parke) did. They were flying around and causing trouble, making great passes and we just played back on our heels."
The edge in rebounding and turnovers allowed the Panthers to take 13 more shots from the field and take eight more free throws in improving to 7-1 overall this season.
In the JV game, Clay City captured a 34-22 victory as Logan Ellinger tallied 16 points followed by seven from Kylee Truax. Alex Wolfe had four, Emmie Kittle had three and both Claire Miller and Mahayle Durga had two.
The Eels are back in action at home Monday against top-ranked Vincennes Rivet at 6 p.m.
At Clay City
Riverton Parke (50)
Pollard 1-6 2-2 5, Yando 0-3 3-4 3, Falls 0-1 3-3 3, S. Dickey 7-15 3-6 18, Burnham 6-15 2-3 16, Wood 1-3 1-4 3, E.Dickey 1-8 0-0 2, Mansinne 0-0 0-0 0, S.Virotsko 0-0 0-0 0, Benell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-51 14-22 50.
Clay City (32)
Roeschlein 4-12 4-6 14, Drelick 4-12 2-3 10, Reed 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 1-6 0-0 3, Booe 0-3 0-0 0, Dayhuff 0-0 0-0 0, Riggs 1-2 1-3 3, Ellinger 0-1 2-2 2, Wolfe 0-0 0-0 0, Decker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-38 9-14 32.
3-point fieldgoals -- RP 4-15 (Pollard 1-5, S.Dickey 1-2, Falls 0-1, Yando 0-1, Burnham 2-5), CC 3-15 (Roeschlein 2-8, Miller 1-4, Drelick 0-2, Ellinger 0-1). Rebounds -- RP 29 (Yando 8, Dickey 5, Burnham 5), CC 30 (Miller 5, Drelick 4, Roeschlein 4). Team Rebounds -- RP 3, CC 3. Total Fouls -- RP 14, CC 16. Fouled out -- CC (Booe). Turnovers -- RP 7, CC 16.