The Clinton Dark Horses finished up the regular season against East Duplin Thursday night. Splitting the outcomes on the road, the men came away with a big 87-48 win, while the girls weren’t so lucky, going down 71-35.
The Horses men would push their win streak to 16 after an exceptional performance. They owned the Panther for start to finish claiming this one by 39.
“This was a really good way to end the regular season for us,” said head coach Randy Jordan. “We did a lot of good things tonight and got better at some little things that we have to be better at if we are to continue playing in the post season.”
“We came out and shot the ball pretty well from three point range and moved the ball as well. We were unselfish and looked for the extra pass. It was great to see our guys doing those things,” Jordan added.
Taking an 11 point lead by the end of the first quarter, Clinton was rolling as usual with 25 points to show for it, while their equally strong defense held East Duplin to just 14 points. The second quarter was more of the same, though both teams dropped in their scoring — this time Horses 16-10. Clinton took a comfortable lead into the break, 41-24.
Coming out of halftime the Horses were smoking on both ends of the court. Having their most offensive production in the third quarter they scooped up another 29 points. The defense continued to put the pressure on only allowing 12 by the Panthers.
Though the Horses ended the night with 20 to close out the fourth quarter it was their defense that stole to show. With the final eight minutes ticking away they held the Panthers to just two points in the last frame.
“This group seems to be getting better at the right time, but we still have a long way to go. We need to continue to focus on the little things, moving our feet on defense and not reaching, weak side box out, running the break, taking care of the ball, things like that,” said Jordan. “Attention to detail is the name of the game for us from here on out as the competition will only get tougher.”
Dewan Lesesne did most the damage with his 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and four steal. Trevor Leggett also had a big night with 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and three blocks. Kris Williams and Xzavier Howard each had 12 points. Williams also had seven assists with three steals and Howard had eight rebounds and four assists.
“We got excellent efforts off the bench by Tymair McIntyre and Desmond Rayner. Desmond was perfect from the floor shooting the ball. It was a real team effort,” he said.
Rayner finished with 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range and 1-of-1 from the charity stripe, as well as two assists.
“We also really want to thank the fans who came last night. They have been very supportive of the guys and the program. We are very appreciative of them,” Jordan concluded.
The Lady Horses as they were just flat out beaten by the Lady Panthers by 36 points.
They played very subpar in the first half only getting 12 points by halftime. Six of those points came during the first quarter and the rest came from another six in the second. They had their best offensive series in the third going for 14. They unfortunately lost it in the fourth, with just nine to end their regular season.
Ashlyn Williams finished with 14. Isa Banks had 11.
With the regular season done, the Horses men finish 21-1 overall, 12-0 in the conference and remain ranked atop the state for 2A. Their girls end the year 8-15 overall, 4-8 in conference. They await their opponents for the conference tournament, starting Monday for the women and Thursday for the men, thanks to their bye.
Reach Michael Hardison at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.