By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
CLOVERDALE -- Two teams desperately seeking a return to the win column squared off in boy's basketball on Saturday night as Clay City and Cloverdale came into the contest with multi-game losing streaks.
On Saturday night it was the Eels that survived foul trouble and another cold shooting night to escape Cloverdale with a hard fought 43-37 victory against the Clovers.
Clay City coach Vance Edmondson agreed that his team was fortunate to pick up a victory as his entire front court missed most of the second quarter with two fouls and his team shot just 39 percent (18-of-46) for the game.
"Foul trouble early and the fact that we weren't shooting the ball very well again made it tough for us," Edmondson said. "We made enough plays at the end to get the win."
He also credited the Clovers for giving the 9-4 Eels all they could handle despite a deceptive 1-12 overall mark.
The Eels came in having lost three of their past four games, and things didn't get any easier when the team shot just 4-of-15 in the first quarter. Cloverdale took advantage with 6'10 Mitch Williams battling and denying the ball into the paint on the defensive end. Zach Dorman, a 6'6 sophomore, got to the hoop for four points and two rebounds in that opening quarter as Cloverdale took an 11-9 lead at the first stop.
Clay City senior Ben Denker missed all four of his 3-point shots in the opening quarter before finding his rhythm late in the half with a 3-pointer and five late points. Blake Cesinger kept Clay City close in the opening half as he posted 10 points and seven of his gaem-high 13 rebounds before break.
The junior's output allowed the Eels to take a 21-19 lead at the half despite missing forwards Brylan Jones and Tyler Allen to foul trouble.
In the second half, Jones returned and made his presence felt immediately with an offensive rebound and a score and Denker added a lay-in off a Cloverdale turnover for a 25-19 lead. The Clovers' Joe Fidler responded with a 3-pointer that sparked a 8-0 run capped by a three-point play by Zach Dorman.
Cloverdale led 27-25 midway through the third quarter, but the Eels answered back with a 10-1 run to close the quarter.
Offensive rebounds by Allen and Cesinger resulted in scores and a 3-pointer by Denker opened a 35-28 lead for the Eels.
"(Rebounding) is something we stressed at halftime. (Cloverdale) got some offensive rebounds in the first half," Edmondson said. "So we talked about making sure we box out. If nothing else, if you can't find a body, just go after it. We were able to do that in the second half."
Cloverdale wouldn't go away in the fourth quarter however as Kedrick Collett drilled a 3-pointer and Zach Dorman scored to close the Clovers back within 39-35. However, Cesinger sank back-to-back baseline jumpers on his way to a game-high 16 points to put the game out of reach at 43-35 with 1:32 remaining. Fidler would score off an offensive rebound for Cloverdale, but it was their final score of the game.
In the junior varsity game, Clay City remained unbeaten at 7-0 with a 50-44 victory as Evan Rogers scored 17 points and Josh Miller had eight. Joshua Arsenal, Paiden Myers and Easton Booe each had six points.
The Eels are back in action on the road Friday night against a 13-2 Sullivan squad at 6 p.m.
"We only have one game next week and it's against Sullivan, which is good because we can focus on them all week. You don't have to worry about getting ready for two teams. You can sort of put all of your eggs in one basket so to speak. We're going to come in and try and shoot our way out of this slump. If we can do that, defensively, I think we can give Sullivan some problems."
Clay City (43)
Denker 4-12 0-0 10, Cesinger 6-12 3-3 16, Tiefel 1-4 1-2 3, Jones 4-9 0-0 8, Allen 3-5 0-1 6, Buell 0-0 0-0 0, Rhodes 0-2 0-0 0, Harbour 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-46 4-6 43.
Strunk 1-6 3-3 5, Fidler 2-4 0-0 5, B.Dorman 2-5 0-0 4, Z.Dorman 5-7 1-2 11, Williams 2-6 2-5 6, Collett 1-7 0-0 3, Schroer 1-7 0-0 3. Totals: 14-38 6-10 37.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 3-17 (Denker 2-8, Cesinger 1-5, Rhodes 0-2, Jones 0-1, Allen 0-1), CL 3-20 (Schroer 1-6, Collett 1-3, Strunk 0-5, Fidler 1-3, B.Doran 0-3). Total Rebounds -- CC 31 (Cesinger 13, Tiefel 6), CL 24 (Z.Dorman 7, Williams 5). Team Rebounds -- CC 2, CL 3. Total Fouls -- CC 15, CL 10. Turnovers -- CC 12, CL 14.