For the Brazil Times
CLAY CITY -- The Clay City Eels took care of the basketball and hit free throws in the fourth quarter Saturday night to win their homecoming game 40-33 over the visiting White River Valley Wolverines.
With homecoming queen Brielle Drelick watching from the stage, the Eels hit 12-of-19 free throws in the fourth quarter, including 6-11 in the final 1:11 of the game, to improve their record to 10-6 overall and 3-2 in the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference.
"This is a big win for us. We've struggled lately and we played better (Friday) night, but I hope we're back on track and playing like we were before Christmas," Clay City coach Vance Edmondson said.
While Blake Cesinger was Clay City's only double-figure scorer, finishing with 16 points and three steals, the Eels got six points each from Tyler Allen, Brylan Jones, Jake Tiefel and Ben Denker.
White River Valley (10-4, 1-3 in SWIAC), coming off an overtime victory over Class A No. 2-ranked Loogootee on Friday, was led by Cade Hill with 14 points.
Playing patient, turnover-free basketball and strong man-to-man defense were the keys to victory for the Eels. Clay City committed just nine turnovers for the game and four of those came in the fourth quarter when WRV went into a 1-3-1 trap defense.
"When you get trapped like that you are going to make more turnovers. We tried to make sure we took care of (the ball) tonight and then we hit some free throws in the fourth quarter," Edmondson said.
Luke Mowery gave WRV a 7-4 lead at 5:25 in the first quarter, then the Eels' man-to-man defense held the Wolverines scoreless over the next 6 minutes and 10 seconds.
"We feel like that is our best defense," Edmondson said.
Clay City's Cesinger hit a turn-around jump shot, then stole the ball and Allen converted the theft into a 3-pointer that put the Eels ahead 9-7. The Eels never trailed again.
A 3-pointer by Cesinger gave Clay City a 12-7 lead going into the second period.
Jones scored back-to-back baskets for Clay City in the second period, first off a slick pass from Allen, and the Eels led 16-11. Baskets by Tiefel, Denker and Cesinger gave the Eels a 22-14 lead at halftime.
The Eels maintained a four-to-six point lead through the third quarter and took a 26-20 lead into the final eight minutes.
WRV closed the game to four points three times, but in each case Clay City hit free throws to keep the lead. Four consecutive free throws by Cesinger and Denker extended the Eels' lead to 37-30, then Cesinger added Clay City's only field goal of the quarter and the victory was secure.
"That's good (we) were able to step up and hit free throws when it counts," Edmondson said.
The Clay City junior varsity is 7-3 after losing 41-38 to WRV. Joshua Arsenal led Clay City with nine points, followed by Paiden Myers and Josh Miller with seven each.
Clay City returns to action on Friday night at home in SWIAC showdown with the Shakamak Lakers. The Eels lost to the Lakers 53-47 in overtime in the Greene County Invitational on Jan. 4.
White River Valley (33) -- Ashcraft 1-8 0-0 3, Hogue 2-3 1-2 5, Mowery 4-6 0-1 8, Hill 3-6 8-9 14, O'Haver 1-3 1-2 3, Ingram 0-1 0-0 0, Barnett 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-27 FG, 10-14 FT, 33 TP.
Clay City (40) -- Cesinger 6-8 3-5 16, Allen 1-5 3-6 6, Jones 2-3 2-4 6, Tiefel 3-5 0-0 6, Denker 1-5 4-4 6, Rhodes 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-27 FG, 12-19 FT, 40 TP.
|White River Valley||7||7||6||13||-||33|
3Pt. Goals: WRV 1-7 (Ashcraft 1-4, Ingram 0-1, Hill 1-2), CC 2-8 (Cesinger 1-2, Allen 1-2, Tiefel 0-1, Rhodes 0-1, Denker 0-2). Total fouls: WRV 19, CC 14. Fouled out: Mowery, Hill, Tiefel. Technical foul: CC (Tiefel). Rebounds: WRV 19 (Ashcraft 4), CC 15 (Jones 7). Turnovers: WRV 14, CC 9. Steals: WRV 2 (Mowery, O'Haver), CC 4 (Cesinger 3).
JV game: WRV won 41-38.
Next game: Clay City (10-6, 3-2 in SWIAC) will host Shakamak (10-6, 5-0 in SWIAC) on Friday.