RALEIGH — The varsity Dark Horses, playing in their second game of the High School OT Holiday Tournament, fell to powerful 4A Apex Friday 58-34, but coach Randy Jordan noted there was a silver lining, despite the loss.
As he did earlier in the week when the Horses went toe-to-toe with 3A Oxford Webb, another powerhouse high school team with one starter already committed to play at UNC, Jordan pointed to the experience his Clinton team has garnered from two days of play against much larger teams.
“The time we have spent up here competing with these teams will pay real dividends for us down the road and in the conference. I’m very proud of the kids for coming up here and participating.”
Jordan called the experience “program-building,” noting the significance of such tournaments isn’t just about winning but about the lessons garnered.
“It is, without question, a great learning experience. What we bring back with us from this tournament will help us be even more competitive as we get deeper into conference play.”
The four-day holiday tournament, held at Broughton High School in Raleigh, brings 20 high schools from across the U.S. to play against one another. Teams come from as far away as Texas, New Hampshire and New Jersey to compete.
Clinton played Wednesday against Oxford Webb, falling to the 3A team 88-58. They played again Friday morning, falling to 4A Apex.
The score, Jordan said, was knotted at 20 going into the half, but Clinton couldn’t find solid footing in the final two periods.
58-34 versus Apex High School in the High School Holiday OT
“We had 30 turnovers for the game. It’s tough to score when you’re turning over the ball. We just didn’t have a good second half,” the Clinton coach pointed out.”
But Jordan was quick to offer his praise to his team and the Dark Horse supporters who made the trek from Clinton to Raleigh to cheer them on for two days.
“I’m very proud of these kids for coming up here and playing. The effort was there in both games, and I can’t stress it enough this will do them a lot of good down the road.”
Jordan also tipped his hat to parents and Clinton fans. “I really, really appreciate the support we had at this tournament. We had good numbers at both games, and I’m very pleased and thankful for their support,” Jordan said.
The Dark Horses, 7-1 overall this season and 1-0 in the 2A conference, return to season play Wednesday, Jan. 2, when they travel to Croatan.
Individually in Friday’s game, Shian Bradshaw had 9 points; Thaxton Spruill, 8 points, 10 rebounds; Ryan Chester, 6; Demontio Bryant, 5 points, 5 rebounds.