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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Eels claim fourth straight county win

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Knights' Ashley Hughes (No. 25) and Whitney Halfhill (No. 13) guard the Eels' Alex Wolfe (No. 12). [Order this photo]

Times Sports Editor

CLAY CITY -- Coming into Tuesday's county girls' basketball battle, Clay City had claimed three straight wins over Northview with much the same regulars doing the damage. This time around it was a combination of veterans and newcomers, that scratched out a 41-34 victory and a fourth consecutive win in the rivalry.

Clay City's Kaleigh Decker (No. 24) and Northview's Abbey Timberman (No. 22) battle for a rebound. [Order this photo]
The Knights came in on the heels of back-to-back victories while it was the Eels that were looking to overcome a four-game skid and were tasked to contain a Northview offense that was beginning to click.

In Tuesday's match-up, the Eels were able to drastically limit Northview sophomore Mikayla Rowan, who had posted a combined 39 points in the previous two wins. The 5'11 forward was held to just four points and didn't take her first shot until the 4:50 mark of the second quarter.

Clay City coach Chris Ames credited his assistants for the Eels' strategy.

"That all goes to my assistants," Ames said of the game plan to defend the post. "They all had seen (Northview) play and they came up with an excellent game plan tonight. We tried to hold (Rowan) in check. With us, we don't score a lot of points and it works on the defensive end. Early on I thought we rebounded really well and didn't give up a lot of looks."

Offensively for the Eels, Kylee Truax got her team rolling early with a pair of 3-pointers and classmate Alex Wolfe, pulled down four boards in the opening period and had the task of defending Rowan much of the evening.

"She played within herself and was a force underneath that we need," Ames said of Wolfe. "It's nice to have someone who can anchor your defense in the lane and we have our guards and forwards doing what they can to dig."

The Knights were behind 9-4 after the opening period, but untracked in the second period as McKenzi Kumpf posted four points along with sophomore Abbey Timberman. Northview coach Scott Buell noted that his team is going to need those contributions when teams focus on Rowan in the paint.

"The way they were defending us, we needed those two to step up and knock some shots down," Buell said of Timberman and Kumpf. "They were able to do that, but we just weren't able to sustain any kind of run to build a lead.

"Give Clay City credit, we knew coming in that they were probably going to sag hard (defensively)," Buell added. "We talked about some ways to go about doing that and we just hard a horrible night shooting the basketball," Northview coach Scott Buell said. "We got a ton of good looks inside, they just didn't go in tonight. Clay City played hard and they deserve all the credit."

After falling behind 17-11 in the second quarter, the Knights rallied back to within 18-17 heading into what would be a tight affair during the second half.

Rowan scored her first bucket of the game to start the half and gave her team its first lead of the contest, but the Eels responded with a 7-0 run on buckets from freshman Alisha Steward, Logan Ellinger and Wolfe.

The Eels pushed the lead to 29-21 on a score by Steward, who had a game-high 15 points, before a jumper by Kumpf ended the third quarter.

Credit the Knights for being a resilient bunch as Northview continued to mount a rally into the fourth period as Cassie Weddle hit a free throw, Rowan added a score off an inbound pass and Mallory Smith hit a baseline jumper.

The Knights' 7-0 run put them back on tap at 29-28 as the teams traded two-point possessions before Wolfe scored for a 33-30 lead for the Eels.

"Every time Northview made a run we were able to get a basket and seemed to keep them at bay," Ames said. "We were just lucky enough to get a win against a really well coached Northview team."

Rowan was forced from the game briefly after turning her ankle on a shot in the paint and her mobility was hampered the final 3:48 of the game, though she returned to action.

Kumpf responded with a jumper to get the Knights within 33-32 and Weddle corralled an offensive rebound and got the put back for Northview's final lead at 34-33. However, Wolfe followed with a score and Truax added a pivotal score. Steward was fouled on a defensive rebound and hit both shots as turnovers plagued Northview down the stretch.

The Eels strung together an 8-0 run to end the contest.

"I think once we got the lead we turned the ball over on three straight possessions," Buell said. "That was huge. We were able to turn them over, but then we turned it back over instead of getting two points out of it. That was big going down the stretch."

For Ames, whose team improves to 6-10 overall, the win was key as he saw some toughness from his squad.

"Our girls bought in and when your team plays hard you always think you have a chance to win," Ames said. "Tonight that happened. I thought both teams played extremely hard. Overall we're just pleased with what the kids did and how they approached tonight's game. We were able to hit some shots at the end and the Truax shot was big."

In the junior varsity game, Clay City came away with a 31-25 win with Emily Rogers scoring eight along with Mahayle Durga. Alexis Price scored six for the Eels. Northview got 20 points from Brittany Fagg.

The Knights are 7-11 overall heading into Friday's home game against Sullivan beginning at 6 p.m.

At Clay City

Northview (34)

Halfhill 0-5 0-0 0, Kumpf 5-14 2-2 12, Weddle 2-7 1-2 6, Hughes 1-10 0-2 2, Rowan 2-7 0-0 4, Timberman 2-5 0-2 4, Girton 1-1 0-1 2, Smith 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 15-53 3-9 34.

Clay City (41)

Steward 3-8 9-10 15, Dayhuff 2-7 1-2 5, Wolfe 4-13 2-7 10, Truax 3-4 0-0 8, Ellinger 1-1 1-2 3, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Decker 0-0 0-0 0, Durga 0-0 0-0 0, Allender 0-0 0-0 0, Rogers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-32 13-21 41.

Clay City991112-41

3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 1-11 (Weddle 1-3, Hughes 0-4, Halfhill 0-1, Timberman 0-1, Kumpf 0-2), CC 2-6 (Truax 2-3, Dayhuff 0-3). Total Rebounds -- Nv 32 (Rowan 7, Smith7, Kumpf 4), CC 33 (Wolfe 13, Truax 6). Total Fouls -- Nv 16, CC 13. Turnovers -- Nv 14, CC 17.