LEES CREEK — Earlier this season, it took overtime to decide East Clinton’s game at Felicity.
On Tuesday night, East Clinton seniors Matt Hall, Matthew Mitchell, Gunner Neanover and Colton Vadnais rose the occasion to see that the Astros didn’t need an extra session.
East Clinton defeated Felicity 50-44 Tuesday in SBAAC National Division boys basketball action at the EC gym.
“It was a total team effort,” EC head coach Tony Berlin said. “We were able to cut down on turnovers and take better shots. I was glad to see it for our kids. They have worked hard all season and they deserved it.”
Both teams struggled offensively early, but Mitchell and Dakota Collom came off the bench and immediately sparked the Astros, turning an early deficit into a four-point advantage. Mitchell canned two long threes, and Collom added an assist, a quick bucket, and two free throws for EC in the quarter. After one the Astros led 12-8.
Mitchell’s impact was on the defensive end to start the second as he had an early steal and then drew an offensive foul to help the Astros maintain their lead. “Matt hit some big shots and did some good things for us. He is a smart player and handles the ball very well,” said Berlin.
Branson Smith came alive for the Astros with four straight points to push it to 18-13 EC at the 5:00 mark. After a Neanover three-pointer, EC turned it over three straight trips and fell behind by one. Mitchell free throws gave East Clinton a 23-22 lead at the half.
Colton Vadnais hit Smith with a nice cross court pass, and Smith drained a corner three as the second half got underway. Felicity answered with a 5-0 run but Vadnais had a second assist for a three pointer, this one to Collom, to keep the Astros in front. Collom promptly buried another long one on the next possession, to put EC back up by six, 33-27. After a Cardinal free throw, Smith out=sprinted the entire Felicity defense to go coast to coast for a lay in to give the Astros their largest lead of the night. A Vadnais steal and drive for a bucket pushed the lead to eight at the 1:00 mark. A Cardinal jumper in their final possession of the quarter made it 38-32 EC heading to the fourth.
Neanover’s long three, on an assist from Landon Runyon, allowed the Astros to extend to a nine point lead in their opening possession of the final quarter. Neanover made his second straight huge play for the Astros, as he hit Hall for the old fashioned three point play, for the first double digit lead of the evening. Just when it looked like EC had Felicity put away, the Cardinals went on a 6-0 run to get right back in it.
Quinten Tolle’s dish to Neanover for a lay up, ended the run and put the Astros back up by six halfway through the quarter. Tolle then came back with a huge defensive play at the 1:00 mark, as he came up with a steal to gain possession. This led to a Smith free throw that put the Astros up seven and all but seal East Clinton’s second win of the season.
East Clinton lost the junior varsity game 43-38. Trent Garen had 10 points for the Astros.
In the freshman game, the Cardinals defeated the Astros 50-26. Cody Chaney was the top scorer for EC with 13 points.
Feb 4, 2020
@East Clinton High School
East Clinton 50 Felicity 44
(44) FELICITY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Kidd 1-0-3-5 Crozier 6-1-4-17 Jones 3-0-4-10 Stamper 0-0-1-1 Reeves 0-0-0-0 Moore 0-0-0-0 Liming 2-0-1-5 Taulbee 3-0-0-6 TOTALS 15-1-13-44
(50) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Smith 5-1-4-15 Collom 3-2-2-10 Runyon 0-0-0-0 Tolle 0-0-2-2 Peterman 0-0-0-0 Neanover 3-2-0-8 Hall 1-0-1-3 Mitchell 2-2-2-8 Vadnais 2-0-0-4 TOTALS 16-7-11-50
Brian Georges covers high school sports for the News Journal.