Eels can’t overcome Wildcats’ post presence
By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
CLINTON — The Clay City Eels have long had success in boy’s basketball with their ability to drive the rim and to hit the perimeter shot. However, South Vermillion was able to effectively erase half of the Eels’ equation in Saturday’s road tilt for Clay City.
The Wildcats deployed 6’10 forward Braden Kalber in the paint and the senior locked up the rim on the defensive end as South Vermillion came away with a 45-27 win over the Eels.
Clay City struggled to find a rhythm on the offensive end as Kalber blocked five shots in the game and was a disruptive force on numerous other forays into the paint for the Eels.
Drew Steward hit a 3-pointer on the first field goal attempt that Clay City took in the game. However, the Eels would miss their next nine attempts in the first quarter as South Vermillion jumped out to a 13-3 lead. Kalber immediately played a big role in the post at the defensive end as he changed several shots and halted several Clay City drives.
“You can gamble a lot and put a lot of pressure out front when you have a rim defender like that,” Clay City head coach Vance Edmondson said of Kalber. “It kind of changed the way we played tonight and not being able to get to the rim off of our dribble attack. Thankfully we don’t play a lot of 6’10 guys.”
Kalber also added three points in the opening period, but he had help from junior Bryce McLeish, who scored six points to go with four from Mason Wiltermood.
Trailing early on, Clay City got untracked in a defensive second quarter as Corbin Crosby completed a three-point play and Nathan Owens drained a 3-pointer. The Eels sliced two points off of their deficit to trail 19-11 at intermission.
Clay City gave up a 7-0 run to start the second half as Edmondson was less than pleased with the team’s energy for most of the first three quarters of play.
“We didn’t come out with much intensity. We aren’t going to win a lot of ball games or be very successful if we are coming out passive and that is the way we were tonight,” Edmondson said.
A bucket by Tyler Yocom halted the Wildcat run briefly and Crosby added a three-point play as Clay City crept within 28-16. However, South Vermillion’s Brandon Johnson hit a jumper before the third period horn to stave off any Eels’ momentum.
The game got a bit chippy early in the third quarter as the Eels were whistled for a pair of technical fouls in the opening couple of minutes. The Wildcats would later be whistled for one of their own. However, South Vermillion was able to hit three of the four free throws after the technical fouls and would score 13 straight points to extend its lead to 41-16.
Clay City was able to make a small run down the stretch as Crosby scored seven of his 13 points in the final period. However, South Vermillion’s lead was too great to overcome.
McLeish led South Vermillion with 16 points and both Wiltermood and Kalber tallied nine points in the win.
“We will get better. We just have to have a little more intensity,” Edmondson said.
The Eels fall to 1-3 overall and host Bloomfield on Friday night.
At South Vermillion
Clay City (27)
Rogers 1-6 1-2 3, Steward 1-6 0-0 3, Crosby 5-13 2-3 13, Yocom 1-4 0-0 2, Edmondson 0-6 0-0 0, Adams 0-2 0-0 0, Pipes 0-2 0-0 0, Lafary 1-4 1-2 3, Owens 1-2 0-0 3, Newton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-45 4-7 27.
South Vermillion (45)
Wiltermood 3-4 3-6 9, Johnson 2-5 0-0 4, Kalber 4-6 1-1 9, McLeish 2-4 10-12 16, Terry 2-2 1-2 5, Handley 0-4 0-0 0, Panagouleas 0-1 0-0 0, Lewis 0-2 0-3 0, Myers 0-0 0-0 0, VanLannen 1-3 0-0 2, Gilman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-31 15-24 45.
3-point field goals - CC 3-13 (Steward 1-3, Crosby 1-3, Owens 1-1, Rogers 0-2, Adams 0-1, Pipes 0-2, Yocom 0-1), SV 2-10 (McLeish 2-3, Handley 0-3, VanLannen 0-1, Johnson 0-2, Lewis 0-1). Total Rebounds - CC 27 (Crosby 6, Lafary 4), SV 31 (Terry 6, Wiltermood 5). Team rebounds - CC 6, SV 4. Total Fouls - CC 18, SV 13. Technical Fouls - CC 2, SV 1. Turnovers - CC 16, SV 15.