OWENSVILLE — Up 10 early in the fourth quarter, East Clinton held on for a 46-43 Southern Buckeye Conference National Division victory at Clermont Northeastern Friday.
The Astros (2-1, 1-1) thwarted the Rockets’ (1-1, 0-1) game-tying three-point attempt by poking the ball away in the backcourt after Branson Smith missed the front end of a 1-and-1. CNE gathered the ball but was unable to do anything before time expired.
“That was an effort game,” EC head coach Phil Shori said. “We didn’t shoot the ball great (0-8 from three in the first half), and we were still tied. There isn’t much to say other than this team has heart. Guys stepped up and made the right play at the right time. We have some things to fix, but we’re on to the next one.”
It’s EC’s second-straight victory.
The last time the Astros notched consecutive wins was a three-game win streak Jan. 31, Feb. 2 and Feb. 3 of 2018. It’s also the first time EC has been above .500 since Feb. 13, 2018.
“It’s special. We understand what the past was, but we’re not satisfied, and we’re going to keep moving forward,” Shori said.
Down 38-28 early in the final period, CNE went on a 10-3 spurt to cut EC’s margin to one possession.
Dakota Collom stopped the run with three of his team-high 16 points to make it 44-38.
It was timely as Bryce Reese, who led all scorers with 19 points, notched five quick points after that for CNE to cut EC’s margin to 44-43 with :34 left in the contest.
Smith, who finished with 13 points, hit a pair of free throws seconds later to push EC’s lead back to 46-43.
The Astros came up with a steal seconds later, on which Smith was fouled but didn’t convert at the line, but it gave CNE one fewer possession with which to tie the game.
A third Astro reached double-figures, Landon Runyon with 11.
The Astros got off to a slow start, trailing 12-4 early. They scored the last six of the first quarter to trail just 15-12.
The Rockets led all of the first half, except for when EC held a slim 20-19 margin after an 8-0 spurt.
The teams headed to the intermission deadlocked at 24-24.
East Clinton scored 10 of the first 12 of the third quarter to lead 34-26 at the 3:06 mark of the period.
The Astros hit the last bucket of the third quarter and first bucket of the fourth quarter to build that 38-28 cushion, its largest of the evening.
Dec 8, 2020
@Clermont NE High School
East Clinton 46 Clermont NE 43
(46) EAST CLINTON (fg-ft-tp) B. Smith 4-4-13, Collom 6-2-16, J. Smith 0-0-0, Runyon 4-2-11, Tolle 0-2-2, Norman 1-0-2, Arnold 1-0-2. Total 16-10-46. 3-point goals: 4 (Collom 2, B. Smith, Runyon). FTM-FTA 10-15, 67 percent.
(43) CLERMONT NE (fg-ft-tp) Yeager 1-1-3, Pottorf 1-0-2, Reese 8-0-19, Martin 1-4-6, House 5-0-10, Mott 1-0-3, Fishback 0-0-0, Cartier 0-0-0, Krug 0-0-0. Total 17-5-43. 3-point goals: 4 (Reese 3, Mott). FTM-FTA 5-13, 38 percent.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.