LEES CREEK — The Cardiac Astros survived fourth-quarter angst for the fifth time this season to pull out a 42-39 win against SBAAC National Division rival Bethel-Tate Friday.
“We don’t like easy,” EC head coach Phil Shori said. “I told them at halftime we are a second-half team.”
After East Clinton made, then missed a 1-plus-bonus opportunity, Bethel-Tate tried to force OT with a three that drew iron and bounced away.
Five of the six Astro wins this season are by a total of 19 points.
“Their heart,” Shori said when asked what the special sauce has been in these fourth-quarter heroics. “We’re not tall. We’re not the most athletic. You can question whatever you want about us. You can say we’re not as talented. You can say we’re not as fast. You can say we’re not as strong. You will never convince me my team doesn’t have the biggest heart anywhere in this area. They just go, go, go. These kids won’t quit.”
The Astros (6-3, 4-2) have won four straight.
Branson Smith led the Astros with 13 points. Teammate Quinton Tolle joined him in double figures with 11.
Bethel-Tate (6-3, 2-2) led most of the first 24 minutes of the game thanks to Austin Brookenthal who was a wrecking ball in the paint racking up several of his team-high 19 points on second-chances. Its largest lead was 28-20 with 2:15 left in the third quarter.
East Clinton caught the Tigers at 30-30 in the first minute of the final period and passed them with a Justin Arnold three that gave the Astros the lead for good at 33-32 with 6:50 left in the contest.
EC led 39-33 with 2:13 to go. Tiger Kyle Smith hit a three with :33.9 left to cut EC’s lead to 39-36.
Smith finished with 15 points.
Jan 8, 2021
@East Clinton High School
East Clinton 42 Bethel-Tate 39
(39) BETHEL-TATE (ft-3fg-ft-tp) K. Smith 5-2-3-15 Wolfe 1-1-0-3 Little 0-0-0-0 Weis 1-0-0-2 Brookenthal 9-0-1-19 Snider 0-0-0-0 DeBell 0-0-0-0 L. Smith 0-0-0-0 Scott 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 16-3-4/6-39
(42) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) B. Smith 6-0-1-13 Collom 1-0-2-4 J. Smith 2-1-1-6 Runyon 1-1-0-3 Tolle 4-0-3-11 Arnold 1-1-2-5. TOTALS 15-3-9/16-42
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.