Clinton’s boys tangled with a tough Fairmont High School team Friday night in the state 2A sectional finals, falling 80-55 and ending their stellar 21-8 season.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, coach Randy Jordan said his boys had nothing to hang their heads about, and emphasized the great pride he had in his team, their effort and their play throughout the year.
“It’s been a great season,” Jordan stressed. “We were conference co-champions, we competed in some great tournaments and I watched these young men grow. Of our eight losses, six of them were against teams that played very professionally. They were good teams.”
Jordan called himself a “blessed man” for having the opportunity to coach the Horses this season. “I know this is where I belong and I look forward to being here for the next 15 year,” he said.
The Dark Horse coach said Clinton will lose nine seniors this year, young men who, he noted, laid the foundation for the basketball program.
“I’ve been so blessed to coach them, really all of them. But those nine seniors are an outstanding group of young men, and we will forever be in their debt for laying the foundation for this program. I just can’t say enough about them.”
It was senior Wil Pearson who led Clinton’s effort Friday night, scoring 15 points.
“He had a good game,” Jordan said. “In fact, our team played well all night. The effort was there, we just couldn’t get the shots to fall. And give credit to Fairmont; they did a good job scouting us and they took away some of the things we like to do.”
Fairmont, the No. 3 ranked team in the mideast region, jumped out to an early 19-11 first quarter lead, and their defense held Clinton in check.
The press-and-run Horses were held to another 11 points in the second period, going into the break trailing 38-22.
Although Clinton powered their way back in the third quarter, scoring 20 points, they couldn’t hold Fairmont, who added 20 of their own and continued to lead 58-42 at the end of that frame.
Jordan, who had said earlier in the week that the Horses had to hold a strong Fairmont 3-point shooter back from his 20-plus scoring frenzy, pointed out that while the Clinton boys held the shooter to 13 points, the team’s post player was on fire, scoring 20 points of his own.
“He did a really nice job for them,” Jordan acknowledged.
But the Horses played well, too, their coach stressed, but the iron was unkind.
“We just couldn’t get our shots to fall. We had some good looks, but we couldn’t get on track; our effort was there all night.”
In addition to Pearson’s 15, sophomore Jaylen Banks scored 7 points; and junior Wyman Faison contributed 6.
Jordan once again tipped his hat to Clinton’s fan who, he said, followed them to Fairmont Friday night and have supported the team throughout the season.
“I’m so appreciative of the Clinton family and the community for their continued support. It’s been great all season and we appreciate them very, very much.”