Union hosted Clinton on Tuesday night in a Four County Conference battle that featured teams at each end of the conference standings. The league leading Lady Dark Horses were looking to keep their conference record perfect, while the Lady Spartans hoped for an upset that would give them some momentum to build on down the stretch.
Things didn’t go well for the home team as Clinton, playing without star guard Mikayla Boykin who was taking the night off to rest for the stretch run, made quick work of the Lady Spartans on the way to a 68-22 win.
Hot shooting by senior guard Alex Canady, 6 points, and sophomore Ashlyn Williams, 8 points, in the first quarter sent the Lady Dark Horses out to a 23-5 first quarter lead. Canady continued her barrage on the Lady Spartan defense pouring in 13 points in the second frame. Canady ended the first half with 19 points, 13 of them coming from behind the 3-point arc. By halftime, the Clinton lead had ballooned to 45-11 and the Lady Horses were well on their way to their 11th consecutive win.
The Lady Horses cleared the bench in the second quarter, getting valuable experience for the reserves and recently called up JV players. Sha’Niya Nurse led the Clinton offense in the second half, netting six third-quarter points on the way to 16 for the game. The Lady Dark Horses played tough defense throughout the game, limiting the Union offense to just 12 second-half points, and frustrating the Lady Spartans every scoring attempt.
Clinton was led by Canady with 23 points. Nurse added 16 points and Williams had 13. The Lady Spartans were paced by Brianna Blackmore’s 10 points. LaTyra English added four and Noelanda Carr had three.
After the game, Clinton head coach Chris Owens praised his team.
“The girls played really well tonight. They worked together on defense and just contested every shot. We took another step toward our goal of a conference championship tonight,” Owens said. He commented on Boykin’s absence from the lineup adding, “We wanted to give Mikayla the night off just so she can rest and prepare for the playoff run. She is not hurt; we just took the opportunity to rest her and give some other girls the extra minutes. We brought up several JV players and they really helped us tonight.”
The win improves Clinton’s record to 17-2 overall and 11-0 in conference play. The Lady Spartans fall to 4-12 overall and 2-8 in conference play. Clinton returns home on Friday to host West Bladen while Union travels to Pender, also on Friday.
Reach Daron Barefoot at firstname.lastname@example.org.