Shorthanded Eels use team effort to wrap up summer scrimmages

Thursday, June 27, 2024
Clay City's Logan Stoelting looks to make a pass during last week's scrimmage against visiting Shakamak.
Adler Ingalsbe photo

During the month of June, Clay City’s boys basketball team played nearly 20 games in preparation for the upcoming 2024-25 season.

But with those games taking place during the summer, multiple players on the team have had other obligations that altered what group the Eels had on the floor on a nightly basis.

Clay City head coach Chris Ames viewed that as a positive, noting it gave him and his coaching staff the chance to simulate what it would be like if the flu swept through the locker room like it has in the past or if someone was sidelined for a few games with an injury. It also put a variety of players into new – or at least different – roles than they played in previous seasons, something Ames enjoyed seeing in the team’s last home scrimmage against Shakamak and White River Valley last week.

“It’s a long season, and you’re going to have some sicknesses or someone get hurt, so people are going to have to step up into different roles. That’s the great thing about summer. You can put a mixture of kids out there together to form lineups you normally wouldn’t see all of the time,” said Ames. “That was fun [against Shakamak and White River Valley] because of the mix-matching. We had different guys coming in and out. It was something we had to play on the fly. It forced the kids to stay focused and ready to go. That’s what summer basketball is to us. We have plenty of guys that can play. We just have to get them playing together.”

In the opening game of the scrimmage against the Lakers, which had the Eels playing without Ethan Edwards, Bryce Wiram, Wyatt Johnson, Trey Dayhoff and Mason Camp, the hosts did enough to knock off their conference rival.

There was a serious uptick in the finale against the Wolverines. Clay City didn’t have Edwards, Wiram, Johnson, Zain Keller, Logan Stoelting or Caden Cooper at its disposal but managed to play together, which resulted in a 30-point victory.

“We moved the basketball really well in the second segment against WRV. That’s what I was mostly pleased with,” Ames said. “They shared the basketball. They rebounded the basketball. They defended better. They got to the rim instead of settling, which we did too much against Shakamak.”

The way Clay City played ‘team basketball’ against White River Valley was the perfect example of what Ames wanted to see from his group, he said afterwards. If the group, coming off a sectional championship season, can do that without getting complacent, the sky's the limit for their potential.

“I’m kind of old school, I suppose, and I believe in Clay City. I believe in our team. I believe in our kids and our coaches. I believe in our community. You have to get buy-in. That’s why nights like that are important,” said Ames. “We have a bunch of kids that got opportunities and they came in and busted it. You want them to feel like they’re just as important as anyone that’s getting the most minutes, because they are. It takes all of us as a collective group, as one unit, to do our jobs. That’s not always easy, but our kids have done a great job with that.”

Clay City wrapped up the scrimmage portion of the summer Wednesday at Greencastle where the Eels played four games against teams that combined to go 64-38 last season. After that, once the calendar flips to July, Clay City will leave the gym and weight room open for its players to use as they please before they reconvene once school starts in August.

“We have one week left and then it’s dead week. We finished up Wednesday at Greencastle against Terre Haute North, Tipton, Salem and Greencastle, which was a handful, but we had all 10 of our guys back. That’ll be our last big tournament,” said Ames. “And then in July, we’ll come back in here. We don’t have football around here, so we’ll come in a couple of weeks after dead week and get after it. Our weight room is always open on Saturday, Monday and Thursday and the gym is always open. They’ll have plenty of time to get in here.”

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: