Times Sports Editor
SWITZ CITY -- The baskets at White River Valley High School's gymnasium must seem to be the size of Dixie Cups to the Clay City basketball team in their two-game stint at the Greene County Tournament.
The Eels have shot a combined 31-percent (32-of-104) from the field in the two games, but unlike the opening game against Shakamak, Clay City hit some big shots at the end in claiming a 53-52 double overtime victory against Vincennes Rivet in the consolation semifinal.
Clay City's Brylan Jones, who had hit just 5-of-17 from the field through regulation and the first overtime, hit the go-ahead field goal and 3-of-4 free throws in the second extra session. Rivet missed a pair of chances in the paint during the final six seconds as Clay City captured a re-match of an Eels win earlier this season.
"(Brylan) tweaked his knee last night and he had some swelling in it. We talked about sitting him tonight, but he's a gamer and he wanted to play," Clay City coach Vance Edmondson said of his senior big man. "We threw a brace on it. He's not a big leaper anyway, but that kind of cut down on his leaping ability tonight. He knocked down free throws when we needed him to. They were big at the end."
Edmondson credited Rivet's stingy defense in limiting Clay City's open shots throughout the contest.
"Rivet's defense had something to do with that. They did a good job of extending (the defense)," Edmondson said of his team shooting a woeful 25 percent (16-of-63) against the Patriots. "We didn't get too many good looks, but the ones we did we just didn't make. We have to be able to step up and make those shots."
The tough shooting put the Eels behind the 8-Ball all night long, falling behind 14-5 after one quarter and 24-16 at halftime.
However, the Eels came out of the intermission and turned up the defensive pressure, which forced nine, second half turnovers to give Clay City some extra chances.
Clay City didn't shoot the ball any better, hitting only 3-of-12 field goals and 3-of-7 from the line in the third quarter, but a three-point play from Blake Cesinger and a 3-pointer from Ben Denker got the Eels within 31-28 heading into the final quarter.
The Eels finally reached the summit in the fourth quarter as Denker drilled a 3-pointer with 4:54 left in regulation, but Rivet came back on a lay-in by Collin Wirth and a jumper by Zach Templin for a 35-33 Patriots' lead.
Rivet's lead grew to 39-34 with under two minutes to play, but Cesinger nailed a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left and Denker added two free throws to send the game into overtime.
Tyler Allen, who had five points and seven rebounds, gave the Eels a 42-39 lead to start the extra session, but the Patriots' Brady Mouzin would tie the game with just six seconds remaining to tie the score at 46-all and force the extra session.
In the second OT, Wirth hit a 3-pointer for the Patriots before Jones got the Eels within 49-48 with two charity tosses. A Patriots' turnover would lead to a breakaway lay-in by Jake Tiefel and a 50-49 lead by the Eels. Jones added one more free throw before Rivet sophomore Tom Webster drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:10 left.
The Eels continued to pressure and Cesinger forced a turnover that turned into Jones' go-ahead bucket that eventually gave Clay City the victory.
Cesinger had a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds as Jones added 17 points and eight boards for the Eels. Denker had eight for Clay City. Rivet was led by Brady Mouzin with 18 points and eight rebounds.
Clay City improves to 8-2 overall and plays Linton on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. in the consolation championship.
Greene County Tourney
At Switz City
Clay City 53, White River Valley 52, 2OT
Clay City (53)
Denker 2-14 2-4 8, Cesinger 7-16 3-5 20, Tiefel 1-5 1-2 3, Jones 6-19 5-7 117, Allen 2-6 1-1 5, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Buell 0-1 0-0 0, Rhodes 0-1 0-0 0, Harbour 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 18-63 12-19 53.
Vincennes Rivet (52)
Thomas 1-2 2-2 4, Brady Mouzin 7-14 2-4 18, Niehaus 2-4 0-0 4, Wirth 5-13 0-0 12, Templin 2-11 2-2 6, Blake Mouzin 0-2 0-0 0, Webster 3-7 1-2 8. Totals: 20-53 1-2 8.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 5-24 (Denker 2-12, Cesinger 3-8, Rhodes 0-1, Jones 0-2, Harbour 0-1), VR 5-15 (Bl. Mouzin 0-1, Br. Mouzin 2-4, Wirth 2-3, Webster 1-4, Templin 0-3). Total Rebounds -- CC 39 (Cesinger 9, Jones 8, Allen 7), VR 38 (Templin 8, Mouzin 8). Team Rebounds -- CC 4, VR 5. Total Fouls -- CC 10, VR 18. Fouled out -- VR (Templin, Thomas). Turnovers -- CC 8, VR 17.