Times Sports Editor
BLOOMFIELD -- The Clay City Eels opened the second half of its season schedule in the opener of the Toby Yoho Tournament and came away with a 47-37 victory against Forest Park in the opener held at Eastern (Greene) Middle School.
There was some rust evident in the Eels, who hadn't really practiced together as a full team over a 12-day layoff since a win over Union (Dugger) back on Dec. 15.
The Eels were able to hold a solid Forest Park team to 4-of-16 shooting from the field in the fourth quarter and hit 10-of-12 free throws to solidify the win.
"We haven't practiced together much over the break, but we were able to get a solid win over a good program in Forest Park," Clay City coach Chris Ames said.
The Rangers, with long-time coach Marty Niehaus at the helm, fell behind by double-digits in the opening quarter, but rallied back to within 17-10 at the first stop. The Rangers' 5'10 senior post, Sami Hopf, scored a pair of buckets and 5'10 junior Kylie Blessinger, added two of her own to close the gap. Clay City's dynamic senior duo of Carmela Roeschlein and Brielle Drelick scored 10 of the Eels' opening quarter points. However, a 3-pointer by Madison Booe and a field goal apiece from Abby Reed and Allie Miller got things rolling.
After a high scoring opening quarter, both teams cooled off and settled into a defensive rhythm as the squads combined to shoot just 20-percent (4-of-20) from the field as Clay City held a 23-15 lead at the break.
The Eels were able to pull out to a 30-18 lead early in the third quarter as Roeschlein, who had 14 points, drilled a 3-pointer and Drelick added a driving lay-in for the double-digit margin.
The Eels were able to extend the margin back to 33-23 as Roeschlein grabbed an offensive rebound off a miss by Miller and made the bucket and completed the three-point play after being fouled.
Clay City held a tentative 35-26 lead heading into the final quarter, but it was Forest Park that wouldn't give in.
Olivia Uebelhor opened the scoring in the final period and then added an offensive rebound and put back to narrow the Eels' lead to 35-30. However, Clay City senior Michaela Riggs hit a pair of free throws and Abby Reed came up with a key offensive board and a score for a 41-34 lead.
"Abby Reed was really solid defensively all game and Allie Miller and Michaela Riggs got us some important points and rebounds as well," Ames said of the senior trio.
The Eels attempted to work the clock over the final half of the quarter, but a pair of turnovers led Forest Park to the free throw line to get within 41-37 with 1:11 left in the game.
At that point, Clay City was able to control the game at the free throw line, hitting 6-of-8 to close out the victory.
Miller had seven rebounds along with Drelick to lead the Eels as Drelick led with 15 points. Reed gave Clay City a third scoring option with seven points followed by six from Miller.
The Eels improved to 8-3 overall while Forest Park dropped to 6-4. Clay City was slated to play Class 3A No. 2 ranked Edgewood Tuesday evening.
Toby Yoho Tourney
At Eastern (Greene)
Clay City (47)
Roeschlein 5 2-3 14, Drelick 4 7-8 15, Reed 3 1-3 7, A.Miller 2 2-2 6, Booe 1 0-0 3, Wolfe 0 0-0 0, Riggs 0 2-2 2, Ellinger 0 0-0 0, Decker 0 0-0 0, Truax 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 14-18 47.
Forest Park (37)
Jacob 0 1-6 1, Uebelhor 2 0-0 4, Freyberger 0 0-0 0, Blessinger 5 1-2 11, S. Hopf 4 1-2 9, Welp 1 0-0 3, Jackson 1 2-2 4, Smith 2 1-2 5, Englert 0 0-0 0, Voges 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 6-14 37.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 3 (Roeschlein 2, Booe 1), FP 1 (Welp). Total Rebounds -- CC 33 (A.Miller 7, Drelick 7), FP 32 (Blessinger 6, Jacob 10). Team Rebounds -- CC 10, FP 3. Total Fouls -- CC 10, FP 14.