LEES CREEK — Scoring eight of the last nine points, East Clinton defeated Clermont Northeastern 52-45 Tuesday night in SBAAC National Division boys basketball action at the EC gym.
Branson Smith reached the 1,000-point milestone for his career. He came in to the game needing nine points to reach 1,000 and finished with 20.
East Clinton’s all-time career scoring list is Wyatt Floyd 1,451 points, Mark Woodruff 1,339, Dalton Floyd 1,118, Branson Smith 1,011 and Rick McGraw 1,008.
Smith reached the 1,000-point plateau with 3:47 to play in the first half on a drive to the bucket. East Clinton took a 28-19 halftime lead, but the Rockets came back strong in the third period, pulling within 37-31 at the third quarter break. The Rockets eventually tied the score at 44-44 with 2:00 to play in regulation.
Milestone aside, Smith had ice water in his veins down the stretch as he twice nailed both ends of one and one free throw opportunities, then stole an errant CNE cross-court pass and scored on a layup to seal the victory.
Dakota Collom had 10 points, Landon Runyon scored eight while Quinton Tolle and Jarrod Smith scored seven points each for the winners.
For CNE, Bryce Reece was high scorer with 18 points.
“Wow, what can you say about these kids?’” Shori said. “They came through in the clutch. I am fortunate to get this job (head coach) and people tell you ‘Good luck, it’s gonna be tough.’ They (the kids) are the ones who make it possible, again we are a fourth quarter team and closed out strong.”
Team unity and team chemistry those are the things Shori is most proud of when talking about his kids.
“Yes it’s all about team unity,” he said. “Just like family. We fight, we argue but at the end of the day we all know we can come together. It’s the way we do things, the Astro way.”
The Astros will travel to Georgetown Friday, then play county rival Clinton-Massie Saturday.
Jan 19, 2021
@East Clinton High School
East Clinton 52, Clermon NE 45
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.