Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- The Clay City girl's basketball team hadn't dropped a Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference game since Jan. 14, 2010, a 38-28 loss to Bloomfield. That 16-game winning streak came to a halt against visiting Shakamak, which used a 12-2 spurt to end the third quarter in pulling away to a 59-40 victory over the Eels.
"I give credit to Shakamak, they came out and played hard," Clay City coach Chris Ames said. "They hit a lot of shots. They got good looks and they moved the ball well against out pressure. We helped them out by just turning the ball over. Our turnovers up top are just bad turnovers because it just goes the other way so quickly."
The Eels played from behind much of the first half as Shakamak used its post size on both ends of the court to its advantage.
The Lakers got nine points and six rebounds from 6'1 senior Kelsey Pilant and 6'0 junior Jerri Beck gave her team five rebounds and caused problems on the defensive end for the Eels before the break. Even more of an issue for the youthful Eels was 12 turnovers before the half that enabled Shakamak to lead 26-21 despite hitting just 10-of-31 from the field.
Clay City came out quickly after the break however as Kylee Truax knocked down a 3-pointer and Callie Dayhuff added another to get the Eels within 28-27. After Pilant raised the lead back to 30-27 with two of her 18 points, Eels' freshman Alisha Steward hit a jumper and Alex Wolfe tied the game at 30-all with a free throw with 4:20 remaining in the quarter.
However, Shakamak led 36-33 following a 3-pointer by Clay City sophomore Logan Ellinger with 2:49 to go in the third.
From there, the wheels began to fall off via the turnover for the Eels.
"I give our girls credit, they fought," Ames said. "We tied it up there at 30, but it kind of got away from us there midway through and by our possession chart, the last four or five times we had the ball we gave up nine points and turned it over three or four times. That was the game right there."
Clay City got within 48-37 on a bucket by Mahayle Durga to start the fourth quarter, but Shakamak responded with a score off a turnover by Hudson and Fulford added two free throws as Clay City's Wolfe fouled out with 5:35 left in the game. From there, the Lakers added a 3-pointer from Phipps as part of a 9-0 run to put the game away.
Ames was quick to point out the Lakers post presence as the 5'9 Phipps and Pilant combined for 36 points and 12 rebounds while Beck produced 11 boards in the win.
"The Pilant girl is a force underneath. She does a great job offensively, but defensively it's hard to practice for someone that has that sort of length," Ames said of the 6'1 senior. "It really wasn't just her, it was the (Jerri) Beck girl and the (Kelsey) Fulford girl. They are very athletic and very long. They do a very good job of covering space and causing a lot of havoc out there."
Clay City, which had 29 turnovers in the game, was led by Steward's 12 points with Callie Dayhuff adding 10 points and nine rebounds. Logan Ellinger added seven points and six rebounds, but the Eels hit just 13-of-54 from the field in the loss.
The Eels' junior varsity team improved to 2-0 overall with a 29-14 victory as Raven Allender had 12 points, Nakisha Cass had six and Emily Rogers posted four points.
The Eels are back in action Thursday at West Vigo beginning at 6 p.m.
At Clay City
Phipps 8-14 0-0 18, Hudson 6-14 0-0 14, Fulford 2-7 2-2 7, J.Beck 0-5 2-2 2, Pilant 7-18 4-7 18, Gallagher 0-1 0-0 0, C.Beck 0-0 0-0 0, Reynolds 0-0 0-0 0, Arena 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-59 8-11 59.
Clay City (40)
Steward 3-10 5-10 12, Dayhuff 2-11 3-4 10, Wolfe 2-6 1-2 5, Truax 1-4 0-0 3, Ellinger 3-12 0-0 7, Miller 0-3 0-0 0, Durga 1-1 1-2 3, Allender 0-1 0-0 0, Rogers 0-2 0-0 0, Price 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-54 10-18 40.
3-point fieldgoals -- SH 5-8 (Phipps 2-3, Hudson 2-3, Fulford 1-1, Pilant 0-1), CC 4-12 (Steward 1-2, Dayhuff 1-2, Ellinger 1-2, Truax 1-3, Miller 0-3). Total Rebounds -- SH 42 (J.Beck 11, Pilant 7, Fulford 7), CC 41 (Dayhuff 9, Truax 6, Ellinger 6). Team Rebounds -- SH 4, CC 7. Total Fouls -- SH 15, CC 15. Fouled out -- CC (Wolfe). Turnovers -- SH 20, CC 29.