Times Sports Editor
The Clay City Eels won't be writing home about their shooting display in Saturday's home contest against Cascade on Saturday night.
However, their defensive effort in the second half is a much different story.
The Eels held the Cadets to 13-percent shooting after halftime and pulled away to a 51-26 victory to reach the holiday break with a 3-2 overall record.
"I'll tell you, it's about time," Clay City coach Vance Edmondson quipped in regards to his team's defensive effort. "We really got after it this week in the defensive end and I think it showed tonight. Hopefully we can maintain that type of intensity throughout the rest of the year. If we do and we shoot just decent, I think good things are coming for us."
After leading 27-18 at halftime, Clay City gave up just two field goals over the final 16 minutes and put together a 15-3 run in the third quarter to break open a close contest.
Coming into the game, Cascade junior Hayden Suter had averaged over 18 ppg. for his team and it looked like he would easily surpass that number with his efforts in the opening quarters.
Suter kept firing away in the second quarter with nine more points, but got little offensive help from his teammates. The 6'3 shooter had 15 of his team's 18 before halftime.
"We knew (Suter) was going to be a big scorer coming in. We lost him a couple of times early," Edmondson said. "We didn't want him to get too hot, but we knew we were doing a pretty good job on the rest of the guys. We just wanted to clamp him down a little bit more and the guys did a great job of that in the second half."
Blake Cesinger began to warm up in the second period after hitting four free throws, he added a late 3-pointer to put his squad up 27-18 at the midway point.
The third period proved to be the difference maker as Cascade crept within 27-21 on three free throws from junior Stone Hyten.
Clay City answered with a 3-pointer from Blake Cesinger, but Cascade added a bucket from Jake Canady and a free throw from Hyten. From that point however, the Eels finished the period on a 12-0 run thanks to some crucial long-range shooting.
Rogers, who missed five of his first six from beyond the 3-point line, nailed three straight and Logan Cesinger sank another off an assist from his brother for a 42-24 lead.
Though his shot was a bit off along with the rest of his team, Blake Cesinger stayed aggressive on defense and the glass to continue sparking his squad. The senior posted 16 points and 16 rebounds to go with five steals. Rogers added four steals as Clay City forced 24 turnovers by the Cadets, 13 in the second half.
Edmondson noted that Cesinger's all-around effort was key as team's begin to try and lock him down defensively.
"After that Bloomfield game (29 points), his first game back, I think teams are going to start shading over on his side, double teaming him. He's just such a hard player to guard and he's got great court vision," Edmondson said. "He does a great job of finding the other guys. When Rogers, Trevor (Singer) and out other shooters figure out how to play with him, it's going to be a pretty thing. He did a great job on the boards tonight too. The kid just has a great motor, plays hard all the time."
Clay City slowed the pace down in the fourth period, attempting just seven shots after putting up 50 over the opening three periods. With the game in hand, the Eels got two points apiece from Kurtis Yocom and Rogers in the final minutes to close out the victory.
In the junior varsity contest, Landon Swearingen and Noah Denker each had six points, but Clay City fell 29-26 to the Cadets.
The Eels are off until Dec. 27 when they open play at 7:30 p.m. in the North Daviess Classic against the host squad.
At Clay City
Hyten 0-1 4-8 4, Suter 5-18 2-7 15, Bajawa 0-3 0-0 0, Hart 0-1 1-2 1, Canady 2-7 0-0 4, Drury 0-0 0-0 0, Comer 0-3 0-0 0, Butler 1-4 0-3 2, C.Smith 0-0 0-2 0, Hostetler 0-0 0-0 0, Parsons 0-0 0-0 0, Stephenson 0-0 0-0 0, D.Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 8-37 7-22 26.
Clay City (51)
Phillips 2-10 0-0 5, L.Cesinger 1-5 6-8 , B.Cesinger 4-15 6-8 16, Rogers 5-13 1-2 15, Singer 1-8 0-2 3, Myers 0-1 0-0 0, Denker 0-0 0-0 0, Booe 0-4 0-1 0, Miller 0-1 1-2 1, Yocom 0-0 2-2 2, Ames 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-57 16-25 51.
3-point fieldgoals -- Ca 3-11 (Suter 3-11), CC 9-31 (Rogers 4-10, B.Cesinger 2-5, Singer 1-4, L.Cesinger 1-3, Phillips 1-6, Booe 0-2, Myers 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Ca 35 (Canady 5, Suter 5, Butler 5), CC 46 (B.Cesinger 16, Singer 9, L.Cesinger 7). Team Rebounds -- Ca 10, CC 5. Total Fouls -- Ca 21, CC 17. Fouled out -- Ca (Bajawa). Turnovers -- Ca 24, CC 17.