The Clinton Dark Horses, the 3rd seed in the Four County Conference, hosted the 6th seed from Pender High School Tuesday night. The Horses led from start to finish, posting a 72-65 victory.
The home team led 20-14 after 1 quarter. The Patriots kept things within striking distance and trailed 34-27 at intermission.
The Dark Horses saw their lead cut to 4 at 38-34 with 5:38 remaining in the 3rd period and Coach Randy Jordan got a timeout. By the end of the quarter Clinton led 52-42.
In the final frame, the outcome remained in doubt for about half of the quarter. Pender had just cut the deficit to 6 when a technical foul was called on one of the Patriots. The Dark Horses made 1 technical free throw to go up 58-51. Moments later, with the score 60-53, Logan Batchelor hit a huge jumper to make it 62-53. From that point, the Patriots couldn’t get any closer, until Rodney Hansley hit a 3 pointer as final horn sounded.
Xzavier Howard led Clinton with 20 points. Batchelor added 10, while Jeremiah Pope scored 9. Kris Williams knocked down 8. EJ Howard, Zion Autry, and Raquan Faison connected on 6 a piece. JJ Robertson scored 4. Jacquan McLean added 2, and Drequan Bryant had 1.
Hansely led the Patriots with 22 points.
“It was a workmanlike performance, I thought,” assessed coach Jordan. “We got off to a great start. It was a game of runs. In the 2nd half and in particular the 4th quarter, we put it away. We’re getting contributions from everybody. Jaquan McLean came off the bench and JJ Robertson did real nice job. This time of year, we need different guys to step up. Our depth is going to pay off for us. I’m really pleased with that win.”
Clinton improves to 17-8, while Pender drops to 6-16. The Dark Horses will play at 7:30 Thursday at Union High School against Wallace-Rose Hill.
Reach Danny McDowell at [email protected]