LEES CREEK — Clermont Northeastern’s 6-7 forward Skyler Schmidt had 28 points and the Rockets defeated the East Clinton Astros 72-60 Friday night in SBAAC National Division boys basketball action at the EC gym.
The visitors opened a large early lead then held on for the win. The Astros did not make it easy for the undefeated Rockets. The Astros effort and determination were not lost on coach Tony Berlin.
“We fought back. We got stops. Even though we got beat we played hard and are making progress,” he said.
The game began with CNE netting the first seven points. Momentum was clearly on the Rockets side in the first few minutes. Schmidt powered his way to a pair of thunderous slams and the Rockets maintained a 19-13 lead at the end of one quarter. Branson Smith scored 9 first quarter points to keep the Astros in the hunt early.
An 8-0 CNE run began what was a dominant second quarter for Schmidt and the Rockets. Despite handling the CNE pressure fairly well, the Astro shots weren’t falling. Schmidt had 19 first half points and the Rockets led 41-20 at halftime.
Despite the big deficit, Astros came out in the third quarter showing a great deal of heart and resiliency. Astro guard Quinten Tolle was given the unenviable task of slowing down the much taller Schmidt and he did just that. His defense sparked an Astro run that cut the Rocket lead to 13 halfway through the quarter. The stellar defensive effort by the Astros held the visitors to just 12 points in the quarter, but at the end of three it was CNE with a 53-38 advantage.
Successive field goals by Matt Hall and a Landon Runyon three got the home team within 11 at the 5:00 mark of the final period. But another spurt by the Rockets put the game away for good as a Blake King three-point play pushed the lead back to 17 for the Rockets.
Branson Smith continued to lead the Astros in scoring with 22 points. Runyon was also in double figures with 11.
“It was nice to see Landon get in the flow offensively and hit some big shots for us,” said Berlin.
CNE moved to a perfect 4-0 record with the win while the Astros fall to 1-4. The Astros are back home Tuesday as they host the Georgetown G-Men.
In the junior varsity game, the young Astros fell by 12, 47-35. Dakota Collom led East Clinton (2-3 on the year) with eight points.
In the freshman game, East Clinton played for the first time this season and was defeated 45-31. Cody Chaney paced the EC offense with 15 points.
Dec 13, 2019
@East Clinton High School
Clermont Northeastern 72 East Clinton 60
(72) CLERMONT NORTHEASTERN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Burns 3-2-2-10 Pattone 3-0-1-7 Decatur 0-0-0-0 Yeager 1-0-0-2 Schmidt 13-0-2-29 Fishback 1-0-1-3 Reece 3-0-1-7 Hopkins 0-0-0-0 Martin 4-0-0-8 B. King 3-0-1-7 House 0-0-0-0 A. King 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 31-2-8-72
(60) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) B. Smith 6-0-10-22 Runyon 4-3-0-11 Tolle 2-0-4-8 Peterman 1-1-3-6 Hall 3-0-0-6 Collom 1-1-0-3 Garen 0-0-0-0 Hoffman 0-0-0-0 Neanover 2-0-0-4 Swayne 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 19-5-17-60
Brian Georges covers high school sports for the News Journal.