Times Sports Editor
BLOOMFIELD -- The Clay City Eels bounced back from a tough loss in the night cap of the first round of pool play at the Toby Yoho Tourney at Eastern (Greene) on Tuesday night to score a 59-53 victory over a solid Paoli team in Wednesday afternoon's contest.
Clay City senior Brielle Drelick was able to score her 1,000th career point in the victory to join teammate Carmela Roeschlein in the prestigious club.
"It's nice that we've had two girls score 1,000 points within this program. Both of them would tell you it's all the hard work they've done and how hard their teammates have worked for them," Eels coach Chris Ames said. "It's a team thing. They were very congratulatory towards her in the locker room. She was really excited in the locker room."
The Eels spent most of the game in serious foul trouble that limited several starters, including Drelick and Madison Booe.
However, it was the play of the bench that stood out as the Eels held off several Rams' challenges down the stretch.
Clay City's bench scored 13 important points led by six from sophomore Alex Wolfe, five from Michaela Riggs and two points from freshman Logan Ellinger.
Afterwards, Ames agreed that it was his team's bench that sparked the victory.
"I got a nice compliment after the game, Paoli's coach said, 'Your bench was really big, you got good minutes out of them,' Ames said of regarding Ram's coach Dusty Cole's post-game remarks. "I thought he was absolutely right. I told (the team), Alex (Wolfe) and Michaela (Riggs) came off the bench and were solid. Even Logan (Ellinger) came off the bench, seeing little time, and hit a shot and played a role. It was huge for us. We had a lot of foul trouble. Michaela was big rebounding the basketball and defensively. She has long arms and when she gets out on the shooters it really helps us."
When Drelick and Booe went to the bench with foul trouble it was senior Allie Miller that came forward to produce seven rebounds and by knocking down all six of her free throws before halftime. Reed and Wolfe also added two points apiece and Ellinger hit her lone shot to keep the Eels up 26-21 at the break.
Paoli, missing their 6'2 junior Kennedy Nelson due to illness, clawed back within 26-24 on a free throw by junior Sophia Sears. However, the Eels put together a run of their own.
Roeschlein scored off an offensive rebound and a turnover by the Rams fed Reed for a three-point play. The senior would then add another bucket off a long transition pass for a 33-24 Clay City advantage and Drelick scored off a turnover to push the Eels' lead to 35-24.
That margin was very shortly lived as Paoli responded quickly with a 7-2 run led by a pair of scores by Sears, who had a game-high 22 points. Ashley Forbes added a 3-pointer and the Rams were within 41-35 after three quarter.
Clay City extended its lead again in the fourth quarter as Wolfe scored a lay-in as Roeschlein found her with a pass out of a sideline trap. Reed, who had 12 points, finished a three-point play after an offensive rebound for a 46-36 lead.
Paoli wouldn't go away however as Rachel Manship hit two free throws and an Eels' turnover in the back court led Karson Stands for a lay-in and the lead had shrunk to 49-46.
Madison Booe followed with a free throw for Clay City and Drelick tallied her 1,000th- point on a short jumper with 3:06 remaining in the game.
Down the stretch it was Clay City's foul shooting that salted the game away as the Eels hit 10-of-13 in the final quarter and 25-of-31 for the game.
"Today we actually hit some foul shots," Ames joked. "We haven't shot them as well as we want to, but maybe today will get us turned around a little bit. We came down here last year and Abby Reed hit 23 out of 23 (from the free throw line) so maybe she's turning it on. This was a big turning point for us last year, we went 1-3 and we need to keep getting better against good competition."
Reed and Miller combined to go 14-of-14 from the free throw line as Miller had 10 points and eight rebounds. Roeschlein added 13 points despite missing some time after turning her ankle.
Toby Yoho Tourney
At Eastern Greene Middle School
Clay City (59)
Roeschlein 2-7 9-11 13, Drelick 4-8 1-4 9, Reed 3-5 6-6 12, A.Miller 1-5 8-8 10, Booe 0-1 2-5 2, Wolfe 3-4 0-0 6, Riggs 2-2 1-2 5, Ellinger 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 18-38 25-31 59.
Kingston 2-4 0-0 4, Manship 0-3 2-2 2, Becht 0-0 2-2 2, Stands 3-16 2-2 10, Sears 8-19 6-9 22, Kloss 0-1 0-0 0, Forbes 3-7 1-2 9, Rice 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 1-5 2-5 4. Totals: 17-54 15-22 53.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 0-11 (Roeschlein 0-5, A.Miller 0-3, Drelick 0-1, Booe 0-1, Reed 0-1), Pa 4-21 (Stands 2-11, Forbest 2-4, Kloss 0-1, Manship 0-1, Sears 0-4). Total Rebounds -- CC 29 (Miller 8, Riggs 5, Drelick 3), Pa 28 (Sears 4, Forbes 4). Team Rebounds -- CC 3, Pa 5. Total Fouls -- CC 19, Pa 26. Fouled out -- Pa (Forbes). Turnovers -- CC 19, Pa 21.