Clinton started off the state playoffs with a big 77-65 win over South Columbus, advancing them to the second round.
The game was a tight competition in the first quarter, with the Horses trying to take control of the game early. South Columbus, however, stayed right on their heels, and the first frame ended with a close 15-13 advantage by Clinton.
Clinton picked up its intensity as they headed into the second half, but the Stallions from South Columbus would not be held back, and the two teams stayed neck-and-neck throughout, with the Horses able to take only a 1-point lead, at 37-36, into the half.
During the break, Dark Horse coach Randy Jordan issued a challenge to his team, one they rose to when the third quarter clock began to tick.
“I challenged my seniors by telling them that this was their last half of their high school (basketball) career,’ and I asked them what they planned on doing with it. They came back (on the court) after that with confidence.” Jordan said.
And the Horse took control, pushing ahead of South Columbus 55-49 by the end of the third period.
Although the Stallions didn’t give up, the Horses dug in and held onto the lead they’d carved out in the third period and came away with the 77-65 win.
“I was real happy with the way they played tonight,” Jordan said. “They were patient and they made great shots; it was certainly a team win. We also had a great crowd for a Monday night,” Jordan said, offering his thanks once again to a very supportive Clinton fan base.
The varsity is now 20-7 and are ranked No. 7 in the Mideast region. They advance to the second round, being played on the road Wednesday at Graham. Game time is 7 p.m.
Clinton’s leading scorers were Ryan Chester with 18 points, Demontio Bryant with 17 points, Shian Bradshaw with 13 points, Thaxter Spruil with 10 points, James Evans with 6 points, Zach Underwood and Wil Pearson with 4 points, and Osharmaine Jones with 1 point.