Clay City defensive surge leads Eels to victory over Panthers
By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY — Clay City used a key defensive surge in the second half to take control of their match-up against Riverton Parke on Thursday night. The Eels held the visiting Panthers scoreless for an eight-minute stretch to take a 59-36 girl’s basketball victory.
The Eels were able to stretch a seven-point lead midway through the third quarter to 52-28 with 4:17 left in the game to improve to 7-1 overall this season.
Senior Madelyn Ames got Clay City off to a rousing start in the opening period by draining three from 3-point range as the Eels powered out to a 19-9 lead at the first stop. The Clay City guard ignited the early surge on her way to a game-high 23 points to go with six rebounds. While Ames started hot for Clay City, the Eels had plenty of other contributors on the way to a 29-22 lead at halftime.
Leading scorer Avalee Jeffers battled some foul trouble and had just six points at intermission, but the Eels got five early points from Andrea Steward and three more from Lauryn Myers.
“She had a funny stretch there. She started off strong and then we had other kids pick it up,” Clay City coach Chris Ames said. “Andrea Steward and (Lauryn) Myers hit shots, Aysiah (Hernandez) got to the rim. (Ames) finished really strong. She is a heady player and you expect that our of a senior leader to make some good plays for you.”
Riverton Parke senior forward Josie Eslinger was a tough match-up for the Eels in the paint, scoring 16 points before halftime. The 5’11 post player hit 6-of-10 field goals over the opening two periods. Eslinger was also key defensively in holding Jeffers to just four field goals attempts before halftime.
The Panthers opened the second half with a bucket from Allison Oldham before Steward answered for the Eels. Mackenzie Schermann followed with a score for Riverton Parke to get the Panther within 31-26. However, Clay City began to work the ball inside to Jeffers, who scored three straight points coming off a pair of offensive rebounds.
Foul trouble reared its head for both squads halfway through the quarter as Eslinger and Jeffers each picked up their third fouls and went to the bench.
Clay City found an answer defensively with senior Kinley Dickson, who scored to push the Eels’ lead to 37-28. Dickson would find Myers on the perimeter for a 3-pointer as the Eels started to open some breathing room. The Panthers were forced to bring Eslinger back into the game, but she picked up a quick fourth foul with 1:37 left in the period.
Ames credited Dickson for playing some inspired basketball for the Eels with Jeffers on the bench through the end of the quarter.
“We are going to have that this year,” Ames said of the Eels’ defensive stretch. “She is just finding her legs, but Kinley Dickson did a great job. She is a kid that can keep you out of the lane and deflect some passes. I thought she did a fantastic job. She had a short stint in the first half, but in the second half, she had to play a long stint. She scored a bucket for us and really shored up the middle.”
The Eels finished the third quarter on a 7-0 run and then got Jeffers back to start the final quarter.
Jeffers, who had 17 points and eight rebounds, scored to start the fourth quarter and followed with a bucket off a feed from Hernandez. Ames drilled a 3-pointer off an assist by Myers. Ames drove to the rim and completed a three-point play as Clay City finished a 17-0 run to take control of the game.
“We moved the ball so we got them out of position a little bit,” Ames said. “We attacked the rim and when we did that we got to the line and got them in some foul trouble. That is what we have to do.”
Ames and Jeffers combined for 16 of the Eels’ 17 points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Clay City is back in action on the road Tuesday evening against South Putnam at 6 p.m.
At Clay City
Clay City (59)
Steward 3-8 0-0 7, Walton 0-5 1-2 1, Myers 1-6 4-6 7, Ames 6-9 6-7 23, Jeffers 7-9 3-4 17, Hernandez 0-0 2-2 2, Grassick 0-0 0-0 0, Dickson 1-2 0-0 2, Koonce 0-0 0-0 0, Wertz 0-0 0-2 0, Harrison 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-39 16-23 59.
Riverton Parke (36)
Clapp 0-3 0-1 0, Pharr 1-3 1-2 4, Fellows 0-4 0-20, Eslinger 8-12 5-7 21, Schermann 2-8 0-0 4, Oldham 1-3 0-0 2, Burdine 0-0 0-0 0, Koerner 0-2 0-0 0, Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Marion 1-1 0-0 2, App 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 14-37 6-12 36.
3-point field goals - CC 7-18 (Ames 5-8, Myers 1-5, Steward 1-4, Walton 0-1), RP 2-11 (Pharr 1-3, App 1-1, Koerner 0-1, Clapp 0-1, Eslinge r0-2, Oldham 0-1, Schermann 0-2). Total Rebounds - CC 25 (Jeffers 8, Ames 6), RP 24 (Schermann 6). Total Fouls - CC 15, RP 17. Turnovers - CC 14, RP 23.