Times Sports Editor
FARMERSBURG -- The Class A No. 14 ranked Clay City Eels were a picture of efficiency on offense Thursday night and it led them to a 67-53 Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference win over North Central (Farmersburg).
The Eels got 24 points apiece from junior Blake Cesinger and senior Brylan Jones and senior point guard Ben Denker dished out 10 assists as Clay City shot a robust 55 percent from the field in the victory.
However, Eels' coach Vance Edmondson wasn't completely satisfied with how his team played at the defensive end as North Central got their share of easy hoops and remained within striking distance until the final minutes.
"Offensively I don't have a problem with our game tonight," Edmondson said. "On defense is where I thought we had played better the last three games, then tonight, we couldn't guard anybody. (North Central) is pretty quick and did a good job of spreading us out. We've got to do a better job of moving our feet. On the offensive end I was pretty pleased with how we played the game."
Clay City got rolling early behind the hot shooting of Cesinger and Jones, who combined to hit 8-of-14 shots in the opening period. The only thing that slowed Jones, who had 11 points and five boards in the first quarter, was his second foul that forced him to the bench for much of the second stanza.
However, as Clay City built a 20-14 lead at the first stop, the Eels went to their bench to get some quality minutes from Colten Harbour, Koby Rhodes and Kole Smith to offset the absence of Jones.
"(Colten) Harbour came in and missed a couple of block outs, but we got that worked out and he did a much better job," Edmondson said of the Eels' junior. "Koby (Rhodes) came in and gave us some good minutes and Kole (Smith) came in and gave us some spot minutes at the end of the quarter. That is what we need. Our bench needs to give us solid minutes and they did that tonight."
Trailing 32-22 at halftime, North Central went to senior Tyler Strain to start the second half. The 6'2 guard hit a free throw and added a jumper to close the gap to 32-25 and a driving score from Conor Strain pulled the T-Birds within 33-27.
Clay City's lead would grow to 57-41 as Jones scored six straight points for the Eels.
North Central countered with a 7-1 run that 6'6 Aaron Bellgraph finished with a bucket to get the T-Birds back to within 59-51. However, the Eels were able to keep North Central at bay, spreading them out to gain several late lay-ins.
Cesinger had a game-high 14 rebounds for the Eels with Jones pulling down eight for Clay City, which also got 10 points from Tiefel in the victory.
In the junior varsity contest, Clay City missed 10-of-11 free throws in the game and lost in overtime, 32-29.
Logan Cesinger had eight points, Stephen Phillips added five and both Josh Arsenal and Harbour had four points each.
The Eels (12-6 overall, 5-2 SWIAC) host Linton on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
At North Central (Farmersburg)
Clay City (67)
Denker 2-8 0-1 5, Cesinger 9-15 2-4 24, Tiefel 4-5 2-4 10, Jones 10-12 1-2 24, Allen 2-6 0-1 4, Rhodes 0-0 0-0 0, Harbour 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-49 5-12 67.
North Central (53)
T.Strain 4-12 3-8 12, Bellgraph 3-10 5-8 11, Lebada 0-0 0-0 0, C.Strain 7-15 4-6 20, Stone 2-3 0-0 5, Vanschoyck 1-7 0-0 3, Moore 1-2 0-0 2, Newkirk 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 18-48 12-22 53.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 6-14 (Denker 1-4, Cesinger 4-6, Jones 1-3, Allen 0-1), NC 4-18 (Vanschoyck 1-7, C.Strain 2-3, Stone 1-1, T.Strain 0-2, Bellgraph 0-4, Newkirck 0-1). Total Rebounds -- CC 34 (Cesinger 14, Jones 8), NC 29 (Bellgraph 10, Moore 6). Team rebounds -- CC 0, NC 3. Total Fouls -- CC 18, NC 12. Turnovers -- CC 8, NC 9.