Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- North Clay came away with a pair of junior high basketball wins in much different contests against county rival Clay City on Thursday evening.
The seventh-grade Knights withstood a furious fourth quarter rally by the Eels to claim a 44-36 victory while the eighth-grade pulled away early in a 55-34 win.
In the seventh-grade game, North Clay pulled out to a 40-25 lead in the fourth quarter following a pair of free throws from Calen Cook. However, the Eels began to mount a rally down the stretch.
Drew Steward was fouled on a three-point attempt and nailed all three free throws for the Eels and Brigham Booe followed with a lay-in off a turnover and added a pair from the charity stripe.
Booe, who had a massive game with 30 points and 20 rebounds for the Eels, led the fourth quarter charge as fouls mounted for North Clay.
The seventh-grade Eel added a bucket and two more free throws as Clay City crept within 40-36 with under a minute to play. However, North Clay got a free throw and a lay-in from Andrew Osborn to thwart the Eels' final rush.
North Clay held a narrow 18-14 lead at halftime as Dylan Nussel nailed a pair of 3-pointers in the first two quarters and Anthony Drury added one as well for the Knights. For Clay City, Booe was effective immediately, tallying 12 of Clay City's 14 points before the half. He also was tough on the boards with nine over the first 12 minutes of the game.
After the break, North Clay began to build upon its lead as Logan Metz scored off a lay-in to start the scoring and John Adams pushed the lead to 22-16. Osborn followed with a hoop and Metz followed with a score off an offensive board. Adams capped a 14-2 run for North Clay as the Knights held a 28-16 lead before Booe halted the run with a 3-pointer to end the period.
Osborn had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Knights with Adams tallying four points to go with seven rebounds. Andy Young had four points and both Drury and Cook posted three points. For Clay City, Steward had three points, Caleb Cannon added two points and three rebounds and Tyler Yocom had three rebounds and two points.
In the eighth-grade contest, North Clay's starting five rushed out of the gate with Drew Lumsdon scoring five quick points along with Braelyne Compton. Kalen Schane added another four in the opening period as the Knights jumped out front by a 22-6 margin at the first stop.
Subbing liberally the remainder of the first half, Brenan Walker added three points in the second period while Jayden Lindsay, Steven Crafton and Camden Roembke each had a bucket in a balanced offensive effort by the Knights.
Clay City spread the wealth as well as Nathan Farmer posted seven of his 10 points before halftime and Fletcher Shaw scored four of his 13 points before the break.
North Clay continued to roll in the second half with Schane getting to the rim for six of his 10 points in the third quarter as the Knights' lead grew to 43-20.
The Eels finished strong in the fourth quarter with a 14-12 advantage in scoring, but the Knights' lead was too large to overcome.
The balanced scoring for the Knights saw 12 players get into the scoring column led by Schane's 10 points. Lumsdon had seven points in limited minutes with Roembke adding six. Bryce Minor added four points along with Mitch Howald. Shaw had 13 points to lead the Eels as Farmer had 10 points to go with four boards.
At Clay City