It was a different game Friday night when Clinton’s Dark Horses played host to county 1A rival Union in the pair’s second meeting in a week, even though the outcome was the same. Clinton won the game 60-52, but the score was far more competitive than when the two met at Union on Dec. 7.
“It was a great game,” said Union coach Tim Pope. “I have to give a lot of credit to our team. They worked extremely hard this week after we got embarrassed by 43 last week. They put forth a great effort tonight and the score reflected that.”
Clinton coach Randy Jordan agreed.“We executed down the stretch with this game. I give Union credit for fighting hard throughout the whole game, especially after the game we had last week.”
The powerful Horses plunged ahead right out of the gate and maintained their lead throughout, but Union stayed close on their heels, not giving the home team the breathing room they had in the first matchup.
When the two teams broke for the half, Clinton was up by only 3, 24-21
Breaking and getting ties continuously, the Horses got ahead by 2 points at the end of the third quarter and pushed hard to put a little distance between themselves and Union. But the Spartans wouldn’t go away, gaining the lead at 44-42 in the fourth period.
“We missed a few free throws and Clinton was able to convert and get the lead back. We ended up having to foul them down the stretch,”Pope said.
The key for Clinton, Jordan stressed, was No. 44, Alphonso McDew. “He did great and was a great lift to the team tonight.” Jordan said with enthusiasm.
Leading scores for Clinton were Shian Bradshaw with 14 points, Greg Smith with 8 points, Demontio Bryant with 8 points, Thaxter Spruil with 8 points, and Osharmaine Jones with 5 points.
For Union, Natrone Banks led the way with 18 points; Justin Smith had 13; and Damarious Davis had 12.
Clinton varsity boys will host Richlands Tuesday. Union heads into a challenging week, with three games. They begin conference play Tuesday on the road against James Kenan, then travel to North Duplin Wednesday and return home Friday to play host to Pender.
Pope said if his Spartans continue to work as hard as they have been, he’ll see a strong team this season. “We’ll be fine if we work and play with the same intensity that we played with tonight (Friday).”