Clinton poised for 2nd championship game

By: By Michael Hardison - Sports Editor

The Dark Horse men were dominant in their win over 3A South Brunswick Thursday during the semi finals. They owned the Cougars by 15, on the road, finishing this match up 82-67.

“This was a dominant win over a very good 3A South Brunswick team,” said head coach Randy Jordan. “The game was not as close as the score indicates, we had a 19 point lead at the end of the third and a 24 point lead with 2:45 to go in the fourth.”

The first half was filled with intense action that saw Clinton maintaining a slight five point lead at the end of two quarters. They got the lead in the first period, being the better team on offense the Horses put up 24 while keeping the Cougars behind with 19.

South Brunswick found a solution defensively to slow down the Horses cutting their offense production in half to 12 points in the second quarter. Luckily for Clinton their defense also tightened up forcing the Cougars to drop in their scoring with 12 in the period as well. This brought an end to the first half with the Horses galloping in front 36-31.

“We played well in the first half at both ends of the floor but just had a few too many breakdowns on defense and gave up easy points. We did not get out to cover their three point shooter,” said Jordan.

The third period is when Clinton wrapped this game up as their adjustments out the break completely threw the Cougars out of their game plan. Tallying up a bunch of points, Clinton went for 31 with the defense doing equally well only allowing 17.

South Brunswick was finally the better team on offense in the fourth but by then the distance was to far to close. Hitting for 17 two more than the Horses, who had 15, it was to late for it to make much difference.

“In the second half we made two adjustments that really paid off big. On defense we mixed up our 23 zone trap with our man to man and this really took them out of what they wanted to do on offense,” remarked Jordan. “We outscored them 31-17 in the third quarter and shutdown their two leading scorers.”

“Offensively, we went to a lot of our ‘Detroit’ set, our two-man iso game. Zion Autry was just huge in this offense as he dominated on the inside. Dewan Lesesne was also fantastic in the half court set when we went to our motion,” he added.

The real success story to the win was how well they shot the ball from beyond the arc. Making 14 baskets from three, a potential school record, they were able to spread the floor well against the Cougars.

“Kris Williams and Xzavier were on fire from three point land as they were each five of seven from the three point line and really helped us to spread the floor on South Brunswick,” said Jordan.

“When we can do that, are unselfish with the ball like we were tonight, 21 assists as a team, and play defense like we did, we are going to be tough to beat,” he concluded.

Williams was the biggest threat with 22 points, three assists and three steals. Xzavier Howard was just as dangerous with 17 points and eight rebounds. Lesesne also had a big night with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Throw in 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals from Autry. Plus six points, five rebounds and two blocks from Trevor Legget contributions came from all around.

The Dark Horses are now 9-1 and are poised to take on 4A Scotland Friday in the Woodmen of the World Christmas Tourney championship game.

Dewan Lesesne rising high for a dunk during last season. He recover nicely from his lip injury he suffered Wednesday, going for 15 in their semi final win over South Brunswick.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/web1_Dewan-1.jpgDewan Lesesne rising high for a dunk during last season. He recover nicely from his lip injury he suffered Wednesday, going for 15 in their semi final win over South Brunswick.

Xzavier Howard drains this one from three during a previous game. He drained five from beyond the arc on Thursday, going for 17 on the day.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/web1_DSC_0034-1.jpgXzavier Howard drains this one from three during a previous game. He drained five from beyond the arc on Thursday, going for 17 on the day.

By Michael Hardison

Sports Editor

Reach Michael Hardison at mhardison@clintonnc.com. Follow us of Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.

Reach Michael Hardison at mhardison@clintonnc.com. Follow us of Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.