The Clinton men’s basketball team welcomed Lakewood to the Faison Gymnasium on Tuesday night for a non-conference tilt before the teams get down to conference play. The Dark Horses used a strong first half performance to catapult to nine point halftime lead, then treated the large crowd to a dominating second half ariel display that included alley oops and high flying dunks. In the end the Dark Horses had dismantled the Leopards, taking a 77-31 win, and allowing the Leopards to only score seven second half points.
The Dark Horses jumped out to an early lead, paced by Logan Batchlor and Dewan Lesane who scored six and eight points respectively in the first quarter to stake the Horses to a 20-15 lead after the first frame. The Dark Horses kept the pressure on the Leopards in the second quarter, pressing at every opportunity, keeping the Leopards off balance and unable to cut into the lead. Clinton extended their lead to nine at 33-24 heading into the halftime break.
Clinton came out of the half and effectively ran the Leopards out of the gym, outscoring the visitors 12-0 in the opening minutes of the third quarter. The Dark Horses kept the defensive pressure on and got everyone on the bench in the game. Jeremiah Pope, seeing his first basketball action of the year, scored eleven third quarter points during a five minute stint. Clinton head coach Randy Jordan commented on the second half explosion, saying “we got the guys that had been on the football team in the game for a few minutes in the second half so they could start to get their basketball legs back. They did some exciting things, but the guys that have been with us all year really came out and played a great first half and then they just took control of the first four minutes of the second half. E J Howard was huge during that 4 minute stretch, he just took over the game.”
Jordan continued to substitute freely in the fourth quarter and the team responded playing great defense, nearly shutting the Leopard offense down, holding Lakewood to two fourth quarter points. The full court press forced turnovers in bunches by the Leopards and the Dark Horses didn’t waste any time capitalizing on them, scoring from all over the court en route to the 77-31 final.
After the game Jordan continued to express his pride in his team saying, “I give a ton of credit to those guys that have been with us all along, Logan Batchlor played great on both ends of the floor, Dewan, E J, Xavier, all of them did a good job for us tonight. It was fun having all the guys here tonight, but we have a lot of work to do, we have to get our basketball legs back.” Jordan was also very complementary of the Leopards, adding “Lakewood is going to be alright. They play hard, they are well coached and they don’t give up.
Clinton’s Dewan Lesane led all scorers with 15 points, E J Howard added 12 for the Horses and Jeremiah Pope chipped in 11points, all in the third quarter. Lakewood was paced by N. Devane with 10 points.
The win improves Clinton’s record to 3-2 on the season as they prepare to open conference play next Tuesday at home against the Pender Patriots.
The Clinton JV team dropped the Leopard JV by a score of 68-23. The Dark Horse JV was led by Marcus Boykin with 12 and Desmond Raynor added 10 for Clinton.