LEES CREEK — An 8 for 18 performance from the free throw line played a key role in East Clinton’s 61-53 loss to Georgetown Tuesday night in SBAAC National Division boys basketball.
“We are inconsistent from the free throw line,” Berlin said. “80 percent one night and 40 percent the next. We just haven’t quite figured out how to close out games. We just need to keep working on it.”
Branson Smith continued to carry the load offensively for the Astros, leading the scoring with 21 points. Quinten Tolle (11 points) and Colten Vadnais (10 points) were also in double figures for East Clinton. Josh Galley led the victorious G-men with 21.
The Astros saw their record drop to 1-5 with the loss while Georgetown improved to 2-4. East Clinton is back home again Friday night as they meet the Waynesville Spartans.
Strong Astro defense marked what was a highly competitive first quarter. Some timely offense from Vadnais and Smith allowed the Astros to play neck and neck with the G-men through most of the period.
Fouls began to rack up quickly for the visitors, forcing a switch to a 2-3 zone. Smith quickly took advantage, finding a soft spot in the defense to can a long three to put the Astros up 12-9 after the first.
A steal and lay in by Tolle jump-started the Astros who quickly opened up a 9-point lead in the early stages of the second quarter. The G-men, however, slowly began chipping away at the Astro advantage. A Georgetown field goal at the 1:30 mark cut the Astro lead to 1, prompting a timeout from Berlin. A strong drive from Tolle resulted in a bucket plus the free throw, which was converted. However, a 5-0 run in the final minute swung the momentum and the score in favor of the G-men, 26-25 at the half.
Georgetown seemingly controlled most of the momentum of the third quarter, hitting some long threes, but the Astros continued to hang around. A three pointer by Gunner Neanover, and a three-point play by Smith kept the Astros in it, trailing 40-37 as action moved to the closing quarter.
As the fourth quarter got underway, Neanover canned another long three.
Berlin said, “Gunner gave us a spark tonight and hit some big shots.”
A steal and resulting layup from Smith knotted things at 42 with 6:00 remaining. The teams traded baskets until the 3:00 mark, when a 6-0 run from the visiting squad pushed the G-men lead to 57-50. That proved to be the critical point in the game as that lead proved to be too much for the Astros to overcome.
In the junior varsity game, Georgetown came out on top 33-27.
Trent Garen led East Clinton with eight points. The JV Astros are 2-4 on the year.
There was no freshman game.
Dec 17, 2019
@East Clinton High School
(61) GEORGETOWN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) 5-2-2-14 Tolle 3-0-0-6 Jo Galley 8-1-4-21 Ernst 0-0-0-0 Burrows 1-0-0-2 Linville 4-1-0-9 Shively 1-0-0-2 Kratzer 3-0-1-7. TOTALS 25-4-7/8-61
(53) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) B. Smith 9-1-2-21 Runyon 0-0-3-3 Tolle 4-0-3-11 Neanover 3-2-0-8 Hall 0-0-0-0 Vadnais 5-0-0-10 TOTALS 21-3-8/18-53
Brian covers high school sports for the News Journal