The Dark Horses men were successful in winning the championship in the Triton Holiday tournament, rolling against Corinth Holders Friday for the title, 69-38, a day after squeezing out the win versus 4A Wake Forest, 58-53.
Clinton outscored Corinth from the start commanding a 35-22 lead by halftime. Their dominance keep up in the second half as the defense held them to 15 the entire half while putting up another 34 to claim the title.
Dewan Lesesne and Kris Williams led the way with 18 points apiece, followed by Xzavier Howard with 13 points.
“The guys played hard, tough and played together to win a championship — another really good win versus a big 4A opponent,” said assistant coach James Register. The Horses won the title in the absence of head coach Randy Jordan, out due to suspension following last week’s game against Northside.
The title game blowout followed a close game Thursday, in which Wake and the Horses played close from start to finish with the first quarter ending in a dead even score. Both teams put up 13 apiece to end the first period, a stalemate that changed before halftime.
Both teams slowed up on offense in the second the biggest excitement of the quarter being the Horses taking a two-point lead into halftime. The Horses only managed to score eight in the whole period. Fortunately for them the defense stepped up and held Wake Forest to just six points. This brought the first half action to a close with the Horses slightly ahead 21-19.
The second half was a completely different story than the first as each team went off on offense in both quarters.
Out of the break, it was Wake Forest who was the better team, going for 18 and holding the Dark Horses to 16 to go into the fourth at a 39-39 tie.
Clinton got it together in the fourth eight-minute period as the offense had its biggest showing of the night. Going for what they had in the entire first half with 21, Wake Forest couldn’t keep up with their pace. Only scoring 16 the Horses held on to cap off their win to advance to the championship.
Lesesne was the lead man with 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Autry was on his heels with 14 points, eight rebounds and two steals. The rest of their help came from Kahari Williams on seven points nine rebounds, Kris Williams on eight points, three assist and two steals. With Howard being the last leader with nine points and six rebounds.
“(We) got great contributions from Carson Ellis, Jalen Owens and Cameron Lawson off the bench,” said Register. “Played hard as a group and had really good chemistry — started slow but got into a rhythm in the second half; really good win versus a big 4A opponent.”
The Dark Horses improve to 7-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play. They are set to take on West Bladen Wednesday in the first round of their Holiday tourney.
Reach Michael Hardison at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.