WILMINGTON – Even in a season-ending 70-20 loss to Cincinnati Summit Country Day at the Division III sectional at Fred Summers Court, East Clinton head coach Jeff Craycraft felt he achieved what he set out to accomplish with a bye, an extra week of practice and a tournament matchup with the top seed.
“I looked at this week as another week to practice and get our skill level better. We have a lot of skills to work on. I told the girls, for example with ball handling, we don’t keep our eyes up. We have people wide open and we never see them. We have some shooters, but if you’re not moving the ball it’s hard to get the ball to a shooter if you don’t see them,” he said. “If you want to get to the next level, they need to see the next level. This will be ringing in their minds in the offseason, like ‘We can’t do that against Summit.’
“We’re very young. We have one senior, three or four juniors, one sophomore and the rest are freshmen. I told them today’s game, playing one of the top teams in the state, we need to take away from it that we need to do more strength and conditioning.”
The Knights (22-2) scored the first 18 points of the first quarter, the first nine of the second quarter and the first 14 of the third quarter. The second half was played with a running clock, which goes into effect when a team leads by more than 35 points.
“We kept on battling. We didn’t sulk,” Craycraft said. “I told the kids we have to play perfect against a big-time team. They came out with energy and we didn’t match their energy and they jumped on us.”
Summit’s Rachel Martin led all scorers with 20 points, including three threes in a 53-second span of the second quarter that pushed Summit’s lead from 35-4 to 44-4. Kyle Irby added 14 for Summit, half of them coming in the opening period. Post-players Gabby Martin and Bryana Woodard chipped in with 13 and 10, respectively.
“I wanted to try to keep the bigs under control. Martin is a very good point guard. We just weren’t active enough in our back line, and Martin and Woodard were scoring off quick passes,” Craycraft said.
Summit’s largest lead of the night was 70-14 midway through the final period, before EC’s Jozie Jones scored the final six points of the game.
Jones shared game-high scoring honors with Kelsi Lilly who buried a pair of treys in the third quarter.
“We’ve come a long way this year. We won seven games (7-16) playing four freshmen of our top eight or nine,” Craycraft said. “They learned a lot this year. The kids keep on working every day. I’m proud overall of our team.
“The good thing about these kids is they are coachable and at the end of the day that’s all you ask for.”
Feb 20, 2020
@Fred Summers Court
Summit Country Day 70 East Clinton 20
(70) SUMMIT COUNTRY DAY (fg-ft-tp) Chatfield 1-1-3, R. Martin 8-1-20, Irby 6-1-14, Woodard 5-0-10, G. Martin 5-2-13, Mukasa 0-0-0, Nelson 0-0-0, Nuss 0-0-0, Allen 3-0-7, Bialon 0-1-1, Lyons 0-0-0, Frieson 1-0-2. Total 29-6-70. 3-point goals: 6 (Martin 3, Allen, Irby, Martin). FTM-FTA 6-9, 67 percent.
(20) EAST CLINTON (fg-ft-tp) L. Evanshine 1-0-2, Whiteaker 2-0-4, G. Evanshine 0-0-0, Lilly 2-0-6, Boggs 0-0-0, Tong 0-0-0, Jones 3-0-6, Stonewall 0-0-0, Murphy 1-0-2, Weiner 0-0-0, Clark 0-0-0. Total 9-0-20. 3-point goals: 2 (Lilly). FTM-FTA 0-2, 0 percent.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.