Times Sports Editor
SOUTHWESTERN -- The Clay City Eels got the defensive effort that it needed to shrug the Jac-Cen-Del monkey of its back in the first round game of the Southwestern (Shelbyville) Regional on Saturday afternoon. The Eels held the Eagles to just two points in the second quarter while exploding for 20 points of their own in claiming a 45-22 victory. The victory avenged losses to the Eagles the past two seasons and propelled Clay City into the championship game against the host Trojans, who beat University, 48-20.
Clay City jumped out to a 12-3 lead in the first quarter before Jac-Cen-Del rallied back to within 12-8 as 6'0 Kelsey Pilz completed a three-point play and added a second bucket. From there however, the Eels silenced the center and went on an 11-0 run into the second quarter. Carmela Roeschlein drilled a 3-pointer following an offensive rebound and an Eagles' turnover led to a lay-in by Brielle Drelick. Allie Miller added two free throws and Madison Booe drilled a big 3-pointer as Clay City kept its foot on the gas for a 32-10 lead at halftime.
"We played pretty well at moments in that first half," Clay City coach Chris Ames said. "We had a little lull there that one time, I think it was 12-3, (Jac-Cen-Del) called timeout and scored the next five points. Probably the biggest thing in the first half is we take Carmela out, she has two fouls with four minutes to go, we end up with I think an 11-0 run with her on the bench. I keep telling people, 'It's not just our two best scorers. We have a whole team of kids that can step up.' You saw that today with Madison Booe."
Booe was pivotal for the Eels as Roeschlein missed much of the second quarter after picking up her second foul of the game. However, Clay City barely missed a beat as Booe drilled her second 3-pointer of the game and scored off a lay-in. Drelick hit a trifecta of her own and had seven of her 11 points in the period. Roeschlein, who had 11 points, came back in briefly on the offensive end to nail one of the Eels' seven 3-pointers in the game.
Perhaps most importantly for Clay City was that the defense had limited Pilz to just two points in the second quarter while establishing its lead.
After intermission, Clay City began to work the clock on each offensive possession. Jac-Cen-Del scored first on an offensive rebound and putback from Morgan Young. Drelick answered with two free throws by for Clay City before Pilz hit one for the Eagles. With a 34-13 advantage, Clay City got another huge 3-pointer from Booe to extend the lead to 37-13 and the Eels took a 37-15 lead into the fourth quarter.
With a comfortable lead, Clay City was able to take some time off the clock with a deliberate offense in the second half. While Jac-Cen-Del was misfiring to the tune of a 25-percent shooting percentage for the game (8-of-32), the Eels were able to skillfully work the ball around the perimeter and hand pick their shots down the stretch.
Booe started the fourth quarter with a driving lay-in for a 39-15 and the Eels were able to begin substituting liberally over the final half of the fourth quarter. Michaela Riggs knocked down a pair of free throws, Mahayle Durga added a free throw, Alex Wolfe scored off an assist by Callie Dayhuff and the Eels were off to the championship game.
"The key is always get ahead. They did have to shoot some outside shots. I thought we rebounded at times okay. We really had a hand up on their shooters and made it difficult for them. I was really pleased with what we did defensively."
Booe posted 13 points to lead Clay City's balanced attack as Roeschlein and Drelick each added 11 apiece. Miller topped the rebounding effort with five followed by four from Abby Reed and three each by Roeschlein and Drelick.
At Southwestern (Shelbyville) Regional
Clay City (45)
Roeschlein 3-6 2-2 11, Drelick 4-6 2-2 11, Reed 0-0 2-2 2, A.Miller 0-5 2-2 2, Booe 5-13 0-0 13, Dayhuff 0-0 0-0 0, Wolfe 1-2 0-0 2, Riggs 0-1 2-2 2, Truax 0-0 1-5 1, Ellinger 0-1 0-0 0, Durga 0-2 1-2 1, Decker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-35 12-17 45.
M.Hughes 1-6 1-2 4, Keene 0-3 0- 0, Young 1-8 2-2 4, Crank 0-0 0-0 0, Pilz 3-6 2-3 8, Wagner 0-2 0-0 0, Roberts 1-4 0-0 2, Obermeyer 0-0 0-0 0, Volz 2-2 0-0 4, J.Hughes 0-0 0-0 0, Ronsheim 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 8-32 5-11 22.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 7-12 (Roeschlein 3-3, Drelick 1-1, Booe 3-8), JCD 1-14 (M.Hughes 1-5, Keene 0-2, Wagner 0-1, Roberts 0-3, Young 0-3). Total Rebounds -- CC 21 (Miller 5, Reed 4, Drelick 3, Roeschlein 3), JCD 24 (Keene 5, Pilz 4). Team rebounds -- CC 4, JCD 3. Total Fouls -- CC 10, JCD 10. Turnovers -- CC 10, JCD 17.