Clinton’s Lady Dark Horses opened the first round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs hosting the Lady Pam Pack from Washington. The second seeded Lady Horses blazed out of the gates to take a commanding lead then withstood a rally by the 24th seeded Lady Pack to take the first round win 80-39 first round win.
Clinton was unstoppable out of the gates, scoring 32 points in the opening quarter, led by Mikayla Boykin with 14 of her game high 37 in the first frame. Ashlyn Williams added 10 points and Alex Canady pitched in 8 of her 21 points to help push Clinton out to a 32-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Washington refused to quit, gritting out a 15-12 advantage in the second quarter to make the game much more respectable at the half, 44-23. Clinton Head Coach Chris Owens talked about the second quarter let down, saying, “we lost our focus in the second quarter and let them sort of get back in the game. We really talked about that at halftime and came out and put the game away in the third quarter.”
The Lady Horses must have been listening to Owens halftime speech. They came out playing with a purpose in the third quarter, turning up the defensive pressure and getting several easy baskets off turnovers. The Lady Dark Horses only allowed 7 third quarter points and extended their lead to 65-30 going into the fourth quarter.
Clinton continued to build on the lead early in the final quarter, running the lead to 44 points midway through the final frame, invoking the running clock rule. The Lady Dark Horses emptied the bench in the final three minutes, with the reserves getting some game experience and building on the lead. In the end the Lady Horses closed out the 80-39 win to advance to the second rouhis nd.
Clinton was led by Mikayla Boykin’s 37 points, Alex Canady poured in 21 and Ashylyn Williams added 17 points for the Lady Dark Horses. Washington was paced by Daria Jones with 15 points, Tasia Ebron added 8 for the Lady Pam Pack in the losing effort.
After the game Owens commented on his team’s second half effort, adding “we really came out and finished strong in the second half, that is what we talked about at halftime, that finishing is what is all about this time of the year.” Owen’s also talked a little about Clinton’s second half opponent, “North Pitt is a lot like us, they like to run and push tempo. They also have three really good guards, and similar post players. This should be an exciting match-up with lots of points scored.”
The first round win improves Clinton’s record to 25-2 and sets up the second round match-up against North Pitt on Thursday night at 6pm in the Sampson Middle School gym. North Pitt, 21-4 on the season and the 12th seed in the east, advanced to the second round with a 64-37 win over South Columbus on Tuesday night.
Reach Daron Barefoot at firstname.lastname@example.org.