Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- What a difference a week makes.
Eight days after what the coaching staff characterized as probably its worst game of the year, Clay City bounced back to knock off an Eastern (Greene) squad that it lost to by 20 points to open the Greene County Tourney.
The Eels got a 30-point effort from senior Blake Cesinger to offset a 27-point assault by the Thunderbirds' Tyler Brough to gain a 61-50 SWIAC victory at home.
"We're playing a lot better now. I know people might think that a week doesn't make that much difference, but it does," Eels' coach Vance Edmondson said. "We played about as poorly as we could the last time. We come back two days later and get two wins within four or five hours. We've got some momentum going and we carried into tonight. I think we needed to prove a point that we were better than we were last time."
Brough looked as if he wanted to prove a point as well after being held to two points in the first period, which ended in a 12-all tie.
The 6'4 senior couldn't seem to miss in the middle two quarters as he hit six 3-pointers and tallied 25 of his 27 points in that span. However, the Eels buckled down defensively and held him scoreless in the pivotal fourth quarter. Not surprisingly, Edmondson credited the defensive effort for gaining the win.
"We knew (Brough) was a key all along. The kid is tough and he can play. I think the toughest thing about him is that he can get his shot off at any time. No matter where he is at or who is guarding him, he's open," Edmondson said. "He hit some big shots with guys hanging on him tonight. I thought Logan (Cesinger) and Easton (Booe) did a great job on him in the second half, especially the fourth quarter."
Eastern looked to break away in the third period as Brough nailed his fifth 3-pointer and Logan Frye added a jumper for a 38-33 advantage. However, it was Rogers that answered back with his fourth 3-pointer of the contest and Trevor Singer added another to get the Eels within 40-39.
"I thought the biggest key for us was getting Rog (Evan Rogers) off early," Edmondson said. "He comes out and drains his first '3' and then hits his second and his third. When guys are making shots around Blake (Cesinger), it not only makes Blake a lot better, it just makes us better as a team."
The momentum shift continued as Blake Cesinger scored off a steal to put Clay City ahead 41-40 and Josh Miller added a bucket for the Eels. A three-point play by Cesinger closed the period with the Eels ahead 46-40.
Eastern continued to make runs at Clay City in the fourth quarter as Kurtis Stille, who had 15 points, scored two free throws and added a drive to get the T-Birds within 53-50 with 1:46 left. From there however, the well seemed to go dry for Eastern as Blake Cesinger hit two free throws and Brough missed from long-range. Booe followed with two free throws and the Eels closed out the game at the free throw line.
Clay City got 30 points and 10 boards from Blake Cesinger and Rogers posted 14 points. Singer added nine as the Eels won their third straight and advanced to 7-5 overall, 2-1 SWIAC, with a home contest against Cloverdale tonight.
At Clay City
Eastern (Greene) (50)
Frye 3-7 0-0 6, Brough 9-20 3-4 27, Martindale 0-3 0-0 0, Stille 6-8 3-4 15, Sparks 0-3 0-1 0, Sego 0-0 0-0 0, Henderson 0-1 0-0 0, Richardson 1-4 0-1 2. Totals: 19-46 6-10 50.
Clay City (61)
Phillips 0-2 0-0 0, L.Cesinger 1-5 0-1 2, B.Cesinger 12-20 6-7 30, Rogers 4-5 2-2 14, Singer 3-7 2-4 9, Booe 1-5 2-2 4, Yocom 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 0-1 2-2 2. Totals: 21-45 14-18 61.
3-point fieldgoals -- E 6-18 (Brough 6-12, Frye 0-3, Martindale 0-2, Sparks 0-1), CC 5-12 (Rogers 4-9, Singer 1-4, L.Cesinger 0-1, B.Cesinger 0-3). Total Rebounds -- E 17 (Brough 6, Richardson 5), CC 35 (B.Cesinger 10, Miller 5). Team Rebounds -- E 2, CC 9. Total Fouls -- E 18, CC 14. Fouled out -- E (Frye). Turnovers -- E 14, CC 17.
Junior varsity: Eastern won 42-26.