East Bladen visited Clinton on Tuesday night for a Four County Conference basketball battle. The Eagles used a slow tempo in the first half to slow down the usually frenetic pace of the Dark Horses and kept the game close for a half. The Dark Horses pushed the issue in the second half and ran away with the 62-48 victory.
The Eagles played their game plan to near perfection in the first half, controlling tempo and forcing the Dark Horses to play to a much more deliberate pace than they would prefer. The tactic resulted in a low scoring affair that saw the teams go to the half time break with Clinton holding a slim one point advantage at 23-22.
Clinton turned up the pressure in the second half, forcing several early turnovers to get some breathing room. The Horses outscored East Bladen 21-10 in the third quarter to take a comfortable 12-point lead going into the final quarter at 44-32.
The Dark Horses didn’t take their foot off the gas until they had the game well in hand and the coaching staff cleared the bench for the final four minutes of the game. The home team continued to assault the rim, banging in several crowd pleasing fourth quarter dunks, eliminating any doubts about the outcome of the game as the Horses stampeded to the 62-48 win.
Jeremiah Pope led the Dark Horses with 15 points, E J Howard had 11 points and Xavier Howard added 10 points. Denzel Johnson paced the Eagles with 12 points, all coming on three point baskets.
After the game, Clinton head coach Randy Jordan was pleased with his team’s performance, saying, “They forced us to play their tempo in the first half, but even then I felt defensively we were doing a good job. Tonight was probably our best defensive performance of the season. This was a big one for us, we had people step up tonight, Zion Autry gave us a great effort at both ends of the floor, Tyion Wright had a good game and Rayquan Faison made some big defensive plays for us.”
Jordan commented on how he felt his team is coming into its own at the right time of the season, adding, “This is the time of year when you want your team to start playing its best basketball. We are building, trying to get better everyday, preparing to play our best basketball down the stretch.”
The win improves Clinton to 11-6 overall and 6-2 in conference play. Clinton traveled to Pender Wednesday night for a game that was rescheduled from last Friday, then returns home for a big game against cross county rival Midway on Friday.
Clinton’s JV boys knocked off the JV Eagles with a 61-52 win over the visiting Eagles. Kahari Williams and Jalen Owens paced a balanced Dark Horse scoring attack with 11 points each.
Reach Mike Carter at [email protected]